With less than 15 legislative days until Congress embarks on a month-long recess, the House and Senate separately took initial steps last week toward replenishing the Highway Trust Fund before it runs out of money on August 1. While there is bipartisan support for the Fund itself, the process of replenishing it has grown increasingly controversial in recent years.
Established in 1956, the Highway Trust Fund finances the Interstate Highway System. Its primary source of funding, stemming from 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax, is not indexed for inflation; producing declining revenue over the years as vehicle fuel efficiencies have increased and fewer drivers are on the road.
Less dedicated money coming in, means Congress must get creative to bridge the gap. Often times, Members suggest radical ideas, such as targeting specific industries for tax increases or using other money in the budget.
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