Operations of and Outlook for the Transportation Trust Funds

T-RCED-90-78: Published: May 8, 1990. Publicly Released: May 8, 1990.

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GAO discussed the Highway and Airport and Airways Trust Funds, focusing on unexpended balances and trust fund revenues that could be made available to meet surface and air transportation needs. GAO noted that: (1) the Highway Trust Fund's highway account balance was approximately $10.6 billion; (2) Congress limited states' use of highway funds, and states had not used an estimated $1 billion in available trust fund revenues; (3) state officials believed that they did not use funds primarily because the funds provided a cushion against an uneven flow in federal funds; (4) projections indicated that the trust fund's final balance would exceed its outstanding commitments by an estimated $6.4 billion; (5) to prevent future buildups in trust fund balances, congressional obligation ceilings should more closely approximate expected trust fund incomes; (6) the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed raising user fees to fund future costs, but air traffic control modernization requirements did not necessitate an increase in user fees; (7) FAA would need to increase user fees in fiscal year 1994 to support its spending plans; and (8) from 1982 through 1988, highway bridge deficiencies increased from about 70,000 to 77,000, primarily due to the rapid growth in deficient interstate bridges.

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