Reforming the Highway Trust Fund

As Gov. Rendell continues to tour Pennsylvania asking for more money for transportation, perhaps he should ask Congress to reform the federal Highway Trust Fund to ensure our gas tax dollars are spent more effectively. He could even use the $1.5 million Pennsylvania taxpayers spend lobbying Congress to that effect.

Reason Foundation outlines a number of needed reforms in a new report:

The federal government would have an additional $10 billion a year to spend on crucial highways if it simply stopped diverting federal gas tax money to projects with no national benefits, according to a new Reason Foundation study.

The federal gas tax was supposed to be used to build and maintain the Interstate Highway System. Today auto and truck drivers pay federal gas taxes that are diverted to ferryboats, trails and mass transit programs. Since these other programs are unable to generate significant user revenues and require large subsidies, the Reason Foundation report says they should be funded by state and local governments. The 18.4 cents a gallon federal fuel tax should be refocused on rebuilding and modernizing the aging but vitally important Interstates.

Click here for the executive summary and here for the full report, Restoring Trust in the Highway Trust Fund.

While you’re at it, check out our latest video on Gov. Rendell’s transportation rhetoric.