Ex-DOT Official: Replenish, Repair Highway Trust Fund

Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 10:16 PM

By Sean Piccoli

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The Highway Trust Fund, which is running on empty thanks to another spending battle between Congress and the White House, needs to be replenished and then redesigned because it's decades out of date, a former U.S. Department of Transportation official told Newsmax TV on Thursday.

"We have to fund the highway system, and obviously concrete roads, bridges cost a lot more today," Brigham McCown, former head of the DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

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"We have to fund the highway system, and obviously concrete roads, bridges cost a lot more today," Brigham McCown, former head of the DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner. 

McCown said there's plenty of blame to go around for the sorry state of a construction and maintenance fund inaugurated in the 1950s and last revised in the 1990s.

"It's been broken for a long period of time … and we need more capital infused into the roadways," said McCown. "The breakdown is, who's going to pay for it and how? Frankly, six years into the president's administration, it's hardly a crisis overnight in the making."

McCown said the fund was originally designed to pay for the ambitious interstate highway system proposed by President Eisenhower.

"That system's been built, yet we keep funding the road projects the same way we always have," he said.

McCown said funding is based on an 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax "that has not been adjusted since the '90s." He also said the highway fund has been raided to pay for other programs such as trucker safety awareness and high-speed rail.

"We've got to look at funding those programs, but we can't be robbing the fund that is made to pay for roads and bridges," he said.

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