81 percent ($94 billion) of the Highway Trust funding is spent on “construction and maintenance purposes.” 19 percent($22 billion) is spent on “Transportation Enhancements” and “Other” costs that included but were not limited to: “planning,” “Rail/Highway crossing,” and making carpool (HOV) lanes operational. Here is the pertinent question. Why are they spending more than they are taking in for the last decade? Is this a sign of bad management, a temporary necessity due to infrastructure priorities, or an unfortunate result of political expediency? A decade of spending more than your revenues is hard to justify as a sign of good management. Maybe it is time to limit the political expediency to what you bring in? Spending restraint has to start some place.
A May 2012 report from the Congressional Budget Office noted that for much of the past decade, the Highway Trust Fund’s outlays have exceeded receipts. In recent years, the shortfall has been covered by transfers from the U.S. Treasury’s general fund.