Highway Trust Fund:

Condition and Outlook for the Highway Account

RCED-89-136: Published: May 9, 1989. Publicly Released: May 11, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the status of the highway portion of the Highway Trust Fund to determine whether: (1) the Highway Account balance exceeded amounts needed to meet outstanding commitments; (2) Congress could increase the current authorization for the Highway Account to allow a higher level of program activity; and (3) the Federal Highway Administration (FHwA) supported an increase in the authorization level.

GAO found that: (1) the balance in the Highway Account did not represent excess cash because FHwA used the balance to pay outstanding commitments; (2) FHwA expected Congress to extend federal highway programs beyond their present authorization period; (3) FHwA estimates that, if highway user taxes dedicated to the Fund and expenditures from the Fund terminate as scheduled in 1993, the account could have $7.4 billion in uncommitted funds, and Congress, consequently, could increase the level of commitment by the same amount; and (4) FHwA did not support increasing commitments because of the adverse affect on the overall budget deficit.

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