In this report, CBO describes public transportation in the United States and explains how the federal government supports mass transit. The report also explains how financing subsidies provide additional federal support.
- ReportEffects of Physical Infrastructure Spending on the Economy and the Budget Under Two Illustrative Scenarios
CBO examined two illustrative scenarios that would boost federal funding for a mix of types of physical infrastructure by $500 billion over 10 years. The two scenarios differ in how the additional spending would be financed.
CBO discusses choices about revenues and spending that lawmakers face in addressing the shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund as well as options for subsidizing state and local governments’ financing of highway projects.
CBO assesses whether public-private partnerships have resulted in projects being built more quickly or at a lower cost for taxpayers. CBO also examines whether partnerships that include private financing sped up project financing.
CBO examines choices lawmakers would face in establishing a federal tax on the miles traveled by commercial trucks—including choices about the tax base, rate structure, and implementation methods—and illustrates how such a tax might affect the federal budget.
Sixty percent of state and local investment in transportation and water infrastructure is financed using tools that impose costs on the federal government: tax-exempt bonds, tax credit bonds, state banks, and direct federal credit programs.
In 2017, spending by federal, state, and local governments for transportation and water infrastructure totaled $441 billion. This slide deck updates information that CBO released in 2015.
To show how transportation funding is handled in CBO's cost estimates, this slide deck provides a guide to the agency's 2012 estimate of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act.
With its current revenue sources, the Highway Trust Fund cannot support spending at the current rate. The fund’s projected shortfalls have generated increased interest in borrowing by state and local governments to finance highway projects.