Fixing The Highway Trust Fund

Last week, transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters announced that the Highway Trust Fund will be empty by Oct. 1st. This editorial considers two possible options to fund transportation.

"Though the $8 billion patch (approved by the House on 9/11) will add to the national debt, we're relieved that the Bush administration withdrew its shortsighted plan to transfer money from the mass transit account. Still, the bailout is a temporary remedy that will keep the fund afloat for a year at most if projections hold. Congress needs to search for new sources of transportation funding or risk a similar crisis next fall.

Raising a federal gasoline tax that hasn't increased since 1993 and that has lost much of its power to inflation would be a good first step."

Additionally, "Congress must take a fresh approach; it can start by looking to Oregon, where a recent pilot program proved that charging commuters for the miles they drive instead of the gas they purchase can be successful."

"Unfortunately, neither Barack Obama nor John McCain has made transportation a priority or spelled out in any detail how to pay for it.

Though their plans don't inspire confidence, we hope that the candidates learned from the Highway Trust Fund's near-collapse. The next administration must work with Congress to find sustainable, environmentally logical sources of transportation funding."

Full Story: Editorial: Paying for Roads

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