An upcoming battle over funding for transportation projects could send America's infrastructure over the "highway cliff."
The Highway Trust Fund, which uses federal gas and diesel taxes to help states pay for transit repairs, is running out of money.
The tax rate, which isn't indexed to inflation, has remained unchanged since 1993, at about 18 cents per gallon on gas and 22 cents on diesel. Americans are also using less gas and driving fewer miles than they did in the mid-2000s, while cars have become more fuel-efficient. The fund could see its balance fall to zero by the end of August if Congress can't agree on a fix.
While business leaders and labor groups have staked out unusual common ground on the issue, Congress is deadlocked on how to shore up the fund. Conservative Republicans are staunchly opposed to any tax increases and say they're looking for other solutions.
"Right now there are more than 100,000 active projects across the country where workers are paving roads and rebuilding bridges and modernizing our transit systems," President Barack Obama said earlier this month during a visit to D.C.'s Key Bridge, which is undergoing repairs paid for by the Highway Trust Fund. "And soon states may have to choose which projects to continue and which ones to put the brakes on because they're running out of money."
Some projects have already seen delays due to the uncertainty, including $60 million worth of bridge and highway work in Arkansas and $185 million of road work in Kentucky.
This story has been updated to include additional information on why the Highway Trust Fund is running out of money.
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