May 31 deadline looms for highway funding

May 31 deadline looms for highway funding

Congress is tasked with finding a way to pay for funding of highways and other transportation projects when the current federal funding runs out May 31. So far, nothing has even passed out of committee.

All sides agree that a long-term solution would be preferable, but with time again running so short another short-term patch is likely. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has said that if Congress does not pass a transportation bill by May 31, he will have to cut off funding for road projects.

Various proposals have been floated to pay for transportation. The one that had the most chance for bipartisan approval would allow American corporations to bring back their overseas holdings and pay a lower tax rate. But many Members of Congress are now lukewarm about the idea.

Although the Highway Trust Fund has not raised enough money to pay for infrastructure building and repair for several years, Republicans refuse to consider raising the gas tax. It has not been raised in more than 20 years.

More than half of Americans said in a recent poll that they would support increasing the gas tax by 10 cents if the money were dedicated to targeted transportation purposes such as improving maintenance or safety or reducing local air pollution. The survey was done by the Mineta Transportation Institute.

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