12/12/2006Billions in Highway Taxes Diverted to General Spending
Only one-third of fees collected by state and local government from motorists goes directly to road construction and maintenance.
Billions of dollars collected from motorists from gasoline taxes, tolls, and registration fees are being diverted by state and local governments into uses that have nothing to do with roads and highways.
According to the latest figures from the Federal Highway Administration, motorists gave state and local government $40.3 billion in 2005 for the ability to drive and own a vehicle. Gasoline taxes accounted for $20.5 billion in revenue while registration fees and miscellaneous taxes generated $13.5 billion. State and local toll roads also collected $6.4 billion from motorists.
After accounting for administration and overhead, $28.5 billion remained for all fifty states to spend in 2005. Of this amount, only $13 billion was spent on state and local road construction and maintenance.
A total of $8.9 billion of motorists' money was diverted into unrelated uses. A total of $1.4 billion went to mass transit and $7.5 billion was used for social spending. The remaining amount went to related uses such as paying down transportation debt and funding highway law enforcement.
Selected spending tables from Highway Statistics 2005 are available in a 140k PDF file at the source link below.