We have an $18+ trillion debt. To chip away at it all that needs to be done is pay more taxes and/or change the priorities. Of course, there are many different government programs that contribute to this debt. As this debt continues to grow, ironically, our country’s deteriorating infrastructure continues to be ignored.
The country’s infrastructure – roads, bridges , seaports – are in need of attention. However, there seems to be little desire to do anything other than “a patch here and a patch there.”
It boils down to how much are we willing to spend (i.e. taxing the people) and what are the priorities? (This isn’t limited to infrastructure!)
Federal gas tax since 1993 has been 18.4 cents/gallon. (more)
Some advocate increasing this tax. Others favor reducing current expenditures. Part of this 18.4 cents is used for the Transportation Alternatives Program that includes the recreational trails program and the safe routes to school program. (more)
The Indianapolis Cultural Trail used $36 million of this 18.4 cents for its creation. (more)
The Transportation Alternatives Program was apportioned for the 2014 fiscal year almost $820 million and this included more than $81.5 million for the Recreational Trails Program. (more, including individual state apportionments)
A state-by-state listing of the 2012 Discretionary Grants with a description and funding amount are listed here. As a suggestion you might want to search “trail” in this information.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget in its publication “Trust or Bust: Fixing the Highway Trust Fund” lists “Fig. 4: Options for Savings Within the Highway Trust Fund” and “Fig. 5: Options for Savings to Offset General Revenue Transfers.” One of the options for savings is to eliminate the Transportation Alternatives Program that includes the Recreational Trails Program. (more)
Paying more taxes or revising priorities becomes complicated when 535 Congressional members and the President must reach a consensus. Help them out by contacting your members. Regardless, we either pay more taxes and/or change the priorities.
(On August 8, 2014 H.R 5021 became law supporting transfers of General Funds into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). This provides authorizations for transit, highway and highway safety programs to be funded through the end of May 31, 2015.)
“TRUST OR BUST: FIXING THE HIGHWAY TRUST FUND”
The Committee for A Responsible Federal Budget
…Highway spending has exceeded gas tax and other dedicated revenues regularly over the past decade, and this shortfall will only grow over time. Dedicated revenues currently fund less than three-quarters of total HTF spending, a concern that lawmakers have addressed in recent years by transferring $54 billion of mostly general tax revenue into the HTF (only $15 billion was paid for and partially with a gimmick). In FY2015 alone, highway spending could exceed revenues by nearly $15 billion, and over the next decade that gap will approach $170 billion.
There is broad bipartisan support for funding highways and other transportation infrastructure, which can both help to create jobs in the near-term and enhance long-term economic growth by fostering commerce, communication, tourism, and trade. Unfortunately, policymakers have so far been unable to agree on how to pay for desired levels of highway spending. In the coming months, Congress and the President must identify and agree to a fiscally responsible solution to close the HTF shortfall.
The best approach to address the shortfall would be a long-term highway bill that aligns dedicated revenues with transportation spending. Transferring funds from general revenue into the HTF would be an acceptable alternative if and only if those funds were fully offset with real spending cuts and/or tax increases elsewhere in the budget.Under no circumstance should lawmakers rely on a deficit-financed (or gimmick-financed) general revenue transfer to fund the HTF.
In addition to addressing the funding shortfall facing our highways, policymakers should use the highway bill to ensure better prioritization of funding projects and, importantly, to reform the budgetary treatment of highway spending. The HTF has a unique treatment in the budget, making it immune to the normal forms of budget discipline that ensure policymakers account for the full costs of legislation they pass… (more) (NOTE: Options for savings within the HTF as well as to offset General Revenue transfers are listed later in the article.)