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More Fuel Efficient Cars Causing Highway Trust Fund to Go Broke

Get them where they drive.

9:24 AM, Jul 7, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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Washington needs more money and if it doesn’t get it, your morning commute will become:

a) more expensive

b) more unpleasant

c) both

The problem, you see, is that the Highway Trust Fund is "going broke,” by the Beltway’s curious definition of the phrase.  It is sort of the way that after a round of painful “cuts,” spending somehow still goes up.

The Highway Trust Fund takes in more than 18 cents on every gallon of gasoline sold in this country, so there is plenty of revenue.  Just not enough to meet Washington’s needs and desires.  People are driving more fuel efficient cars and with gas already around $4 a gallon, not taking the trips they might otherwise take. So instead of having the $50 billion that Congress budgeted, the trust fund is looking at $34 billion.  

So cuts are coming, possibly as soon as August, and, as Keith Laing of The Hill reports:

Those cuts could leave drivers facing congested or damaged roads, sparking anger ahead of November's midterms.

Sort of like closing down the monuments during one of those government shutdowns. The idea being to inflict immediate pain.

The president has gotten involved, talking about the jobs that are at stake and saying:

“We’re not going to be able to fund the Highway Trust Fund and to ramp up our investment in infrastructure without acts of Congress.” 

Gasoline is not a discretionary item in the budget of most Americans.  Making it more expensive means there will be less to spend elsewhere.  The people calling for urgent measures to keep the trust fund from going broke say they are concerned about jobs.”  Theirs.

One wonders just how much pork a penny a gallon in new taxes would buy.

No talk, of course, of privatizing.  Using the tolls mechanism.

Just more taxes.  For jobs.

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