7/8/2014 | 1 MINUTE READ

Highway Trust Fund to Go Dry in August

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The U.S. Congress appears likely to adjourn this summer without passing a new funding bill for the Highway Trust Fund. The $50 billion-per-year fund is expected to run out of money next month.

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The U.S. Congress appears likely to adjourn this summer without passing a new funding bill for the Highway Trust Fund. The $50 billion-per-year fund is expected to run out of money next month.

The Dept. of Transportation says the fund's highway account, which began the fiscal year in October with about $11.3 billion, had an estimated $5 billion left at the end of June. The fund's mass transit account balance dropped from $4.5 billion to $2 billion over the same period.

DOT predicts the fund could run dry by the end of August. It plans to begin cutting payments to states on Aug. 1 for highway, bridge and mass transit projects.

Congress is at an impasse on both long-term and short-term options to replenish the fund, which was set up in 1956. In the meantime, the HTF will disburse payments to states based on the amount of revenue collected every two weeks from fuel taxes.

The fund receives most of its monies from federal levies on gasoline (18.3 cents per gallon) and diesel fuel (24.4 cents per gallon). Both taxes have not changed since 1993. The HTF also has been supplemented over the past five years by payments from the general revenue fund to help offset reduced fuel consumption.