The U.S. Wants to “Borrow” From Transit to Pay for Highways

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said yesterday that due to declining gas tax revenues, the Highway Trust Fund would need to borrow money from its mass transit account to pay for road projects. Today's big news story was buried at the bottom of page A17 in the New York Times:

Gasoline tax revenue is falling so fast that the federal government may not be able to meet its commitments to states for road projects already under way, the secretary of transportation said Monday.

The secretary, Mary E. Peters, said the short-term solution would be for the Highway Trust Fund’s highway account to borrow money from the fund’s mass transit account, a step that would balance the accounts as highway travel declines and use of mass transit increases.

Meanwhile, America's historically underfunded transit systems are also struggling with rising fuel prices and record demand. No word yet on how taking money away from transit to pay for highways fits in to George W. Bush's plan to end America's oil addiction but maybe time for Americans to take a good, hard look in the mirror and ask ourselves what kind of nation do we want to be?