Show Me the Money

The six-year Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) was set to expire on September 30, 2003, but numerous extensions have been granted since Congress has been unable to reach an agreement on reauthorization. This article updates the struggle for reauthorization as of April 2005. The primary obstacle to new legislation is financing. The Bush administration, the House of Representatives and the Senate have all proposed a different funding level. Reauthorization has also been complicated by so-called "donor states" politics. These states contribute more in gas taxes to the federal trust fund than they receive from Washington. These states are trying to raise the guaranteed minimum return to each state to a level that would require either severe cuts to other states or a much larger pool of overall funding. The extended effort to reach an acceptable reauthorization agreement has made it clear that the federal transportation program faces serious long-term financial challenges. Almost everyone involved in the process believes that sustainable future funding levels are uncertain without structural change. The current financing structure is unsustainable because the federal trust fund financed by gas tax receipts no longer generates surpluses. Instead, the trust fund projections today fall short of meeting the demand for new spending. The current reauthorization bills clearly anticipate the rising use of tolling and private funding to meet financial challenges.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Pagination: pp 33-35
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01000659
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 5 2005 11:47PM