by Ben Wear, Statesman
The U.S. House voted 387 to 37 Wednesday — a veto-proof majority — to transfer $8 billion from the government’s general revenue kitty to the Highway Trust Fund, which without an infusion from somewhere would go into deficit in the 2008-09 fiscal year.
If the Senate were to go along — and President Bush either pulled back from a veto threat or Congress were to override a veto — then the move would increase federal highway funds in Texas by $859 million. TxDOT in recent years has been spending $3 billion to $4 billion a year on new construction, but had been expecting to slow that pace considerably given the federal and state funding situation.
The federal Highway Trust Fund is fed by an 18.4 cents-a-gallon federal gas tax, a levy which Congress hasn ‘t increased since 1993. The fund had developed a surplus of several billion dollars, but with needs increasing and revenue from the gas tax flattening, that surplus has fallen to near zero. The money raised by the gas tax in the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 would be at least $3 billion short of what Congress in 2005 had voted to spend on transportation.More HERE