Highway Trust Fund

When it comes to federal outlays to states for transportation funding, all 50 (plus the District of Columbia) are all above average. That is they all receive more than one dollar of federal funding for every dollar of gas tax they contribute, according to a new GAO report. That’s made possible by the backfilling of the Highway Trust Fund with general revenues to make up for declining gas tax revenues. In the current budget environment, that arrangement is unsustainable. However, over at the Post, Brad Plumer notes that the elimination of the doner state vs.

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One of the more surprising aspects of the mammoth Senate climate proposal (that's a big honking pdf, by the way) released today was the bit on transportation. Kerry and Lieberman took a very different tack on this subject than the House did—and it's a stunning improvement. For starters, the cap-and-trade program would generate about $7 billion in revenues from selling carbon permits to oil companies and refineries. That money would then get split evenly in three ways: 1) One-third would go toward federal grants for big transportation projects.

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According to Kate Sheppard, John Kerry has been telling people that he's lined up some serious industry support for his climate bill, which will be released on Monday. The Edison Electric Institute, which represents private electric utilities, will reportedly back the legislation, and the American Petroleum Institute will at least refrain from attacking it too bitterly. Meanwhile, the Post reports that Shell, BP, and ConocoPhillips will likely back the bill, too.

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Finalizing a deal between major auto manufacturers and federal officials, the two sides announced new fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles beginning in 2012. The goal is to increase the fuel efficiency of cars and light trucks sold in the United States, thereby lowering the country’s emissions from the personal transportation sector. The changes have been long overdue. While engine-efficiency technology has continued to improve, the country’s fuel-efficiency standards have not followed suit.

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As if we needed more reminding, the country has a huge gap between costs required for transportation needs and the funding sources to pay for them.

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