A 10-month extension to the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) that cost $11 billion expired on May 31st of that year. If the HTF does not receive an extension past May, the Transportation Department will be forced to cut state reimbursements for infrastructure projects.
The HTF, which was created in 1956 to finance the Interstate Highway System, funds a Highway Account for road construction, a Mass Transit Account for urban transit systems, and a Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund.
The federal gasoline tax is the major source of funding for the HTF, but that tax has remained at 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993. To keep the HTF solvent without raising the gasoline tax, it has received periodic infusions from the general Treasury fund. Because Americans drive less and in cars that are increasingly fuel efficient, the HTF’s revenues have experienced a steady decline.
“We’ll have something that gets us through the construction season,” said Sponsoring Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.