As a result, many states, like California, have resorted to establishing and increasing their own state gas and fuel taxes. In addition, Congress routinely fills the gap with general funds (non-transportation funds) to ensure the Highway Trust Fund remains solvent. Even with these investments, Caltrans officials say that much more money is needed to address shortcomings in the transportation system. In fact—available funding will address about only 45% of the state’s needs.
Lawmakers have tossed around various proposals including raising the gas tax and indexing it, charging user fees, raising taxes on corporations and high-income households, and repurposing COVID-19 relief dollars. As they continue their negotiations we must emphasize that we need sustainable, long-term funding that will keep everyone moving forward.