AASHTO Journal, 4 April 2014
House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) this week released the committee’s fiscal year 2015 budget, which seeks to cut $5.1 trillion in government spending through the next 10 years. The plan was approved by the House Budget Committee on April 2.
The blueprint document expresses support for continuation of the Highway Trust Fund, though the plan calls for virtually no obligations in FY 2015, instead opting to pay out committed funds and build the fund’s balance back up. The blueprint allows for additional spending in FY 2015 if the spending does not increase the budget deficit.
“Maintaining the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund and the policy of the trust fund being user-fee supported is a priority. With the Highway Trust Fund facing insolvency in late 2014 or early 2015, efforts need to be made to find a long-term solution to the trust fund’s financial challenges. The budget recognizes the need for continued reforms in this area to adequately maintain, improve, and—where appropriate—expand infrastructure,” according to the blueprint. “Instead of continuing to rely on general-fund transfers for solvency going forward, Congress needs to address the systemic factors that have been driving the trust fund’s bankruptcy. Congress also needs to continue to reform the critical surface transportation infrastructure and safety programs to put them on sound financial footing.”
The document also highlights several ‘illustrative policy options’ which include eliminating funding for Amtrak subsidies, reducing funding for the Transportation Security Agency, prioritizing rail safety, and phasing out Essential Air Service subsidies.
Additional information on the House Budget Committee’s FY 2015 plan is available here.