Highway Trust Fund

Insolvent by: 2028

Projected spending cut: 48%

The Countdown

Our major federal trust funds are approaching insolvency.

What is the Highway Trust Fund?

The Highway Trust Fund finances the federal government’s surface transportation programs. The fund has two accounts, one for highways and one for mass transit. Most of the revenue flowing into the trust fund comes from the 18.4-cent-per-gallon federal gas tax. Smaller amounts come from other transportation-related taxes and fees.

Why is it in trouble?

For over 20 years, transportation spending has exceeded the dedicated revenue flowing into the trust fund as the gas tax has failed to keep pace with inflation. (It hasn’t been raised since 1993.) Vehicles are also becoming more fuel efficient. Lawmakers have been regularly transferring general revenues into the trust fund to keep it afloat instead of enacting reforms to actually fix the disconnect between spending and revenues.

What can we do to fix the Highway Trust Fund?

Lawmakers will need to find ways to increase revenue and acknowledge new transportation technology when doing so. Or spending will have to be cut to close the current structural imbalance.

Get Into the Weeds

Ten Options to Secure the Highway Trust Fund

Options exist to shore up the Highway trust fund's finances and close the structural imbalance between spending and revenue. Although one-time general revenue transfers have kept the trust fund afloat in recent years, they have done nothing to correct the widening gap between dedicated revenue coming into the trust fund and spending coming out of it.

We highlight ten possible options to improve Highway Trust Fund solvency by increasing revenue or reducing spending. These options are meant to serve as illustrative examples and could be scaled up or down in a variety of ways.

Broken piggy bank illustration

A Deeper Dive

Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund

Insolvent by: 2036

Projected program cut: 11%

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Social Security Old-Age & Survivors Trust Fund

Insolvent by: 2033

Projected benefit cut: 21%

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Social Security Disability Trust Fund

Insolvent by: 2098

Projected benefit cut: 0%

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What Can I Do?

Reach Out to Congress

We need Congress to fix these tough issues before our seniors, our economy, and future generations are in jeopardy. Find your representative and share your concerns.

Share with Friends

These federal trust fund issues affect us all—whether we’re just starting out or nearing retirement. Get the word out. 

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