New federal trust fund forecast shows little change

September 7, 2011

Source:  ARTBA

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released its summer forecast for the federal Highway Trust Fund showing little improvement in Highway Account revenues for the next surface transportation bill—$204.2 billion for FY 2012-17 compared to $201.6 billion in March. Projected Transit Account revenues for the six-year period were revised down $0.7 billion to $30.2 billion. The Highway Account projections include an increase in revenues from the expected growth in the sale of heavy truck equipment which is nearly offset by a decline in motor fuel tax revenues—a result of CBO’s projection of lower economic growth. Both accounts draw revenues from motor fuel sales, but the Mass Transit Account does not benefit from truck tax revenues resulting in the projected decline.

The forecast does not significantly change the outlook for the Highway Trust Fund balances, with the Highway Account balance still projected to hit zero in late 2012 or early 2013, followed by the Mass Transit Account later in 2013.

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