The Highway Trust Fund and the Treatment of Surface Transportation Programs in the Federal Budget

The federal government spends more than $50 billion per year on surface transportation programs, mostly in the form of grants to state and local governments. Much of this spending is for highways and mass transit programs financed through the Highway Trust Fund. Those programs have an unusual treatment in the federal budget, and the way they are classified in the budget facilitates the spending of more money from the trust fund than there are dedicated revenues to support such spending. Those revenues come from excise taxes on the sale of motor fuels, trucks and trailers, and truck tires, and from taxes on the use of certain kinds of vehicles. This report of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) describes the status of the Highway Trust Fund and options that the Congress might consider to address the imbalance between revenues and spending from the fund. Part of the discussion concerns the transportation programs’ unique budgetary classification and how that treatment limits the effectiveness of the standard mechanisms for budgetary control.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Glossary; Tables;
  • Pagination: 23p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01529394
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Pub. No. 4819
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 16 2014 9:26AM