By Steve Hymon, February 4, 2014
The federal gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon was last increased in 1993; it funds road and highway programs — and also provides funding for federal mass transit programs. To put it lightly, Metro relies on federal dollars in order to build new projects and ongoing maintenance, among other things.
Metro CEO Art Leahy issued this legislative update Tuesday about the need to raise the gas tax, a task that is ultimately up to Congress:
Congressional Budget Office Projects Massive Deficit For Federal Highway Trust Fund
Earlier today, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued a baseline projection on the federal Highway Trust Fund that predicts a shortfall of $172 billion over the next decade. The CBO baseline projection is the latest evidence that the federal Highway Trust Fund is running out of money at a rapid pace. Last month, in an address before transportation experts in the nation’s capital, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx predicted that the U.S. Department of Transportation could start “bouncing checks” as early as this August 2014. Also last month, our Board adopted a support position for H.R. 3636, legislation authored by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) that would increase the federal gas tax by 15-cents per gallon over the next three years and simultaneously index the gas tax for inflation. It is estimated that the Blumenauer bill, backed by our Board of Directors, could completely fill the $170 billion shortfall facing the federal Highway Trust Fund over the next decade. Please find here a copy of the baseline projection on the federal Highway Trust Fund that was issued by the CBO earlier today – http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/43884-2014-02-Highway_Trust_Fund.pdf