Fix the Highway Trust Fund & Support Infrastructure Investment in Tax Reform
The FAST Act, temporarily stabilized federal highway and transit investment by supplementing over $70 billion to cover the Highway Trust Fund’s revenue gap. However, once the FAST Act expires in October 2020, the Highway Trust Fund will again face funding shortfalls. As a result of failing to permanently fix the Highway Trust Fund, Congress has shifted a total of $143 billion from elsewhere in the federal budget to preserve highway and transit funding. Without a real and permanent solution for financing the Highway Trust Fund, Congress will be forced to bail out the trust fund or significantly cut highway and transit funding.
President Trump and leaders in Congress have begun the challenging task of overhauling the U.S. tax code. Disappointingly, neither the House nor Senate proposed tax bills currently include a Highway Trust Fund fix; however, this process is just beginning and the legislation will likely evolve as Congress moves forward.
Resolving the Highway Trust Fund’s fiscal imbalance as part of tax reform makes economic and political sense. Over the last 30 years, all enhancements to the trust fund’s revenue stream have come as part of broad tax or budget packages. A permanent trust fund fix as part of tax reform would ease the prospects for the infrastructure package Congress and President Trump are committed to moving following tax reform.
In addition to fixing the Highway Trust Fund, Congress should uphold its promise to increase infrastructure investment.
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