CBO estimates $85-$90 billion Highway Trust Fund shortfall by 2021

Updated Jun 3, 2015

highway trafficThe Congressional Budget Office (CBO), at the request of Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Michigan), has projected estimated revenue shortfalls for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for two short-tem extensions and one long-term extension, finding the fund will be short by $85-$90 billion in just six years.

Levin, a member of the House Ways and Means committee, had previously co-authored a letter to committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), saying the short-term HTF extensions “must stop” and that a long-term, six-year extension was needed.

President Obama just signed a two-month extension.

The CBO reported the HTF revenue shortfall would reach $3 billion for an extension to Sept. 30 this year, and $8 billion for an extension until Dec. 31. Reaching out all the way to May 31, 2021 resulted in the $85-90 billion shortfall.

These figures were calculated assuming HTF funding would continue at 2015 levels, with adjusting for inflation and assuming a minimum $4 billion cash balance for the highway account, and a minimum $1 billion for the transit account.

“Projections of spending from the (HTF) and revenues credited to the trust fund could vary from CBO’s estimates because of many factors, including weather-related construction delays, the responses of states and local governments to federal policies, changes in the price of motor fuels, and the price and demand for certain construction materials and labor,” CBO Director Keith Hall said in his letter to Levin. ” Therefore, CBO’s estimates cannot be relied upon to predict the future cash position of the (HTF) with certainty.”