Eleven years ago, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that the primary source of funding for the nation’s surface transportation, the Highway Trust Fund, had run out of money. Congress temporarily staunched the flow of red ink through annual appropriations since then. Nevertheless, the dramatic announcement highlighted the crisis in transportation funding that had been growing for decades. Revenues from federal motor vehicle fuel taxes are woefully inadequate to meet the nation’s transportation infrastructure needs. These needs are expected to accelerate as climate change and associated sea level rise create new infrastructure challenges.
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