Fuel Smarts

Clinton’s Transportation Budget Has Some Upset

February 16, 1999

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If President Clinton has his way, fuel taxes that are supposed to pay for improving the nation’s roadways could be put to other uses. Clinton’s budget for next year calls for diverting billions of dollars in fuel tax revenue from the highway trust fund to a variety of other transportation programs.

If approved by Congress, this budget would mean less money to spend on repairing highways than called for in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, the highway funding bill passed last year.
The Clinton administration wants to boost spending on mass transit and transportation-related environmental programs, conflicting with the 80/20 split between highway and transit spending agreed to by lawmakers last year. It also wants to allocate a $1.5 billion fuel tax surplus to mass transit, automobile safety and grade crossing safety – even though TEA-21 provides that any surplus would go to states for road construction, traffic reduction and air quality improvement.
However, with a Republican-controlled Congress and strong opposition from Bud Schuster, R-PA, the powerful head of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the final budget that emerges this fall is likely to be very different from what the president has proposed.
Also in the president’s proposal is a $105 million increase in funding for states to do truck inspections, especially those on the Mexican border.

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