Keep our transportation system moving

Our country’s transportation system faces a financial crisis, with its main source of money, the Highway Trust Fund, barely staying solvent.

Read on to learn how our current funding system is designed and why it needs fixing.

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it’s pretty straightforward

The Highway Trust Fund is a supply of money that pays for the country’s Interstate highways and other roads, bridges, and public transit systems – the heart of our surface transportation system.

By keeping our transportation infrastructure modern and efficient, the Highway Trust Fund helps improve national mobility and grow our economy.

Where does this money come from?

Drivers pay a federal gas tax that acts as a user fee, which helps pay for road upkeep.

Who decides where the money goes?

While the tax is collected by the federal government, all gas tax payments are allocated to individual states that hold the power to decide how the money is spent.

Want to know how much money your state receives and what infrastructure projects are being tackled? Check out these sites for more specifics:

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Impact on you


Interstate highway construction and maintenance

Safety improvements like stronger guardrails and better lighting

Building and maintaining bridges and roads

Safety research and program development

Public Transportation

Advanced technologies to reduce congestion

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The Highway Trust Fund is projected to go bankrupt by May 2015.

A Little History

How Did We Arrive at Today's Current Situation?

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The federal government imposes a one-cent excise tax per gallon of gasoline to help reduce the deficit.

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The Federal-Aid Highway Act is implemented to fund construction of the Interstate System and permit long-term spending. This law creates the Highway Trust Fund and the fuel tax is set at three cents.

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The federal government increases the tax by one-cent per gallon. (four cents)

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The tax is increased by five cents per gallon. (nine cents)

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The tax is increased by five cents per gallon. (14 cents)

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The tax is increased by 4.4 cents per gallon. (18.4 cents)

Federal Gas Tax Per Gallon

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Our Current Problem

So What's been happening since 1993?

Costs have continued increasing and Congress has done nothing

The Gas tax has lost almost 40 percent of its purchasing power

Purchasing Power of Gas Tax (1993 dollars)

Still set at 18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline, the fuel tax has a drastically lower purchasing power than it did in 1993.

What are the implications?

Since 2008, the federal government has regularly scrambled to provide the Highway Trust Fund with enough money to get by in the short-term without coming up with a long-term solution to fix a perpetually draining fund.

If Congress hasn’t acted to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent in the long-term, then how have taxpayers funded needed transportation maintenance and improvement?

The Short-Term Solution:Borrowing Government Money


$8 billion

Law: To Amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to Restore the Highway Trust Fund Balance

$7 billion

Law: To restore sums to the Highway Trust Fund

$19.5 billion

Law: Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act

$6.2 billion

Law: Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act

$23.4 billion

Law: Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act - MAP-21 Extend

The latest short-term funding expires in May 2015.

How did we get here?

Why has the highway trust fund eroded?

Congress didn’t peg the fuel tax to inflation

Vehicles are more fuel-efficient

Increasing need for road repair

Rising construction costs

Reduction in annual miles driven

An aging system

(Sources: Department of Transportation, FHWA, FTA)

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Fixing the system

How can this system be fixed?

One way is by raising the fuel tax

Why is this the best immediate option?

What's the impact?

Increasing the federal gas tax produces real-world benefits for the average motorist.

  • Save on vehicle repairs

    $324 per year in vehicle repairs

    The average driver currently spends $324 per year in vehicle repairs and operating costs due to poor road conditions.

    Check out the damage caused by potholes

  • Cut the costs of congestion

    5.5 + 2.9 billion hoursbillion gallons of gas

    In 2011, Americans wasted a total of 5.5 billion hours and 2.9 billion gallons of gas stuck in traffic. Those numbers are projected to rise to 8.4 billion hours and 4.5 billion gallons in 2020.

    Check out the commuting facts


    877,000 jobs at risk

    877,000 jobs are at risk if Congress doesn’t act now to fill the Highway Trust Fund.

    Check out the jobs facts

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