The Incredible, Deficit-Reducing Transportation Bill

Just how does a transportation bill that doesn't increase fuel taxes or introduce new user charges, and maintain the same level of spending reduce the deficit by $16.3 billion? Ask the Congressional Budget Office.

Rather than a straightforward gas tax increase to sustain the current level of transportation spending, the bill, known as H.R. 4348 or MAP-21, relies on an incredible amount of budget transfers and redirecting of funds from different revenue sources which may or may not have to do with transportation. Conclusion: "CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 4348 would reduce budget deficits over the 2012-2022 period by $16.3 billion."

According to Taxpayers For Common Sense (TCS), "the $16.3 billion includes $11.2 billion in increased premiums from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation – which is itself $26 billion in debt!" And then one one must disregard the "$18.8 billion transfer from the Treasury to the Highway Trust Fund! Or the transfer of $2.4 billion from the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Fund to the Highway Trust Fund!"

When TCS does the math for the new bill, they conclude that it will increase the deficit by 13.7 billion.

In their Statement Opposing Transportation Omnibus Bill, TCS accuses lawmakers of relying "on a variety of budgetary smoke and mirrors."

According to TCS, the revenue gained from changes in the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation are "ludicrous at best." But even if the new revenue is correctly determined, why is it directed to the Highway Trust Fund that historically has been funded from highway user fees to pay for the nation's transportation needs?

Thanks to Deron Lovaas

Full Story: Congress’ Tortured Math


Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
DVD Cover of The Story of Sprawl

The Story of Sprawl

See how America changed shape in this collection of historic films that visually document how sprawl evolved.
$29.99 for 2-DVD SET
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.