As Congress prepares to reauthorize the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) and establish funding levels for the next several years, they asked the General Accounting Office (GAO) to provide historical information on the nation's investment in its highway infrastructure. In particular, they asked that GAO (1) identify overall trends in the nation's capital investment in its highway system over the past 20 years, particularly since the enactment of TEA-21 in 1998-and compare the trends in federal spending with the trends in state and local government spending; (2) determine how these trends in highway capital investment compare with the fiscal capacity of both the nation and individual states to fund these programs, particularly since the enactment of TEA-21 in 1998; and (3) provide information on sources of funds used by states for their highway programs. The following summarizes their results. (1) Capital Investment in the Highway System - The nation's capital investment in its highway system has more than doubled in real terms over the past 20 years. (2) Investment Compared to Fiscal Capacity - Although the nation's highway investment has increased, the nation's "level of effort" on highway capital spending-that is, investment relative to fiscal capacity, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP)-has remained relatively steady. (3) State Sources of Funding for Highways - Taxes on motor fuels, such as gasoline and diesel, have been the primary source of state highway funding. In addition to motor fuel taxes, states use revenues from other sources for highway projects, including vehicle and motor carrier taxes, tolls, and general fund appropriations.


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Figures;
  • Pagination: 73 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00960489
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO-03-744R
  • Files: NTL, TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 23 2003 12:00AM