WASHINGTON (Sept. 15, 2008) — The House voted last week 376-29 to transfer $8.02 billion from the general treasury to the Highway Trust Fund, a day after the Senate voted to do the same.
A few members of Congress opposed the measure as a raid on the treasury and a stopgap remedy that doesn't fix the problems with the trust fund.
Supporters, however, said the vote preserves more than 380,000 transportation-related jobs and restores some of the $29 billion removed from the trust fund by the 1998 transportation bill.
The House originally voted in July to transfer the funds effective Sept. 30, the end of the federal fiscal year. The Senate, however, voted for the transfer to be immediate, which forced the House to vote again. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters had told Congress the fund could run dry before Sept. 30.
The measure goes to President Bush, who has indicated he will sign the measure despite threatening a veto earlier.
Established in 1956, the Highway Trust Fund is funded by a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon on gasoline and 24.3 cents per gallon on diesel fuel. It had a $10 billion surplus in 2005, but has steadily lost ground because of soaring construction costs, curtailed consumer driving and Congress' reluctance to raise the fuel tax.