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Ringing the Alarm Bells


Associated Equipment Distributors (aed)August 23, 2014 – The Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) has been ringing alarm bells about the Highway Trust Fund for more than a year. New numbers released by the Congressional Budget Office project the fund will run out of money by the end of August, which could cause significant disruptions during the busy summer construction season. AED stresses that the precarious fiscal position is the result of a severe imbalance between infrastructure obligations and resources. The U.S. government has been investing roughly $50 billion per year for highways and transit, but stagnating gas tax and user fee revenues have been unable to keep pace. To stop the bleeding in recent years, Congress has transferred tens of billions of dollars from the general fund but created no long-term legislative solutions to sustain current investment levels. AED maintains that the long-term solution to the crisis is raise the gas tax or create new user fees to shore up the program. An AED study determined that raising the gas tax to 25 cents and indexing it for inflation would not only solve the projected 20-year $365 billion shortfall but also provide an additional $167 billion to invest. Had the gas tax been indexed for inflation the last time it was raised (1993) it would be 25 cents today. Despite calls from both industry and the trade associations that serve it, politicians from both parties can’t seem to muster the courage to do what has to be done.