Environment: Not Busting the Trust

Most experts agree that the U.S.'s transportation network is gravely out of balance—too much emphasis on highways and too little on railroads and mass transit. The main reason can be summed up in four words: the Highway Trust Fund. Created by Congress in 1956 to build the 42,500-mile-long interstate highway system, now 85% complete, the fund has proved to be a financially irresistible force. It automatically receives some $4 billion every year from a federal gasoline tax of 40 per gal., plus another $2 billion from levies on diesel fuel, lubricating oil and other motoring necessities. By contrast, mass transit has...

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