Huge Taxpayer Bailout Of Highway Fund

Taxpayers, not transit users, will bail out motorists to keep the highway trust fund solvent. The administration had initially proposed to use transit funds and veto using general funds, but with the fund scheduled to go bust in Oct., they relented.
September 9, 2008, 8am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"With the nation's highway fund running out of money faster than expected, the Bush administration on Friday (9/05) pulled a political U-turn and urged Congress to approve an $8 billion rescue plan that the White House had previously opposed.

To address the shortfall, the House of Representatives earlier this summer overwhelmingly voted to transfer money from the government's general fund to bail out the highway account. The White House threatened to veto that measure as a dangerous precedent that would shift the costs for road projects from highway users to taxpayers at large."

"At current spending rates, we will start the new fiscal year on Oct. 1 with a zero balance in the trust fund and will continue to spend more than we take in," (Secretary of Transportation Mary) Peters said.

On Friday, Peters explained the shift on highway funding by saying that the administration essentially had no choice but to support the transfer.

The administration had earlier proposed borrowing money from mass transit to fund highways, but that idea ran into congressional opposition because commuters are increasingly turning to bus and rail lines because of high gasoline prices."

Thanks to John Hartz

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Published on Saturday, September 6, 2008 in Los Angeles Times via San Francisco Chronicle
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