National Geographic : 1979 Mar
Each year about $7 billion from use taxes goes to the Highway Trust Fund. Some think it's waste ful. Others say, "Inadequate!" Highway Trust Fund money comes from special taxes on oil, tires, batteries and 44 a gallon on motor fuel. It's used exclusively to bolster state money for road pro jects. In 1957 $1.4 billion was col lected and every penny spent. This year $7 billion will come in. And go out. It's understandable some would say, "They spend what they get regardless of need. Another government waste!" Others view the fund as an ex cellent pay-as -you-go system. Taxes are related directly to use. Commercial users, trucks and buses, 17% of all vehicles, pay 43% of the tax. When vehicle popula tion increases, highway use re venues go up to offset increased wear and tear on roadways. "It puts the cost on those who ben efit," say proponents. "Keep the Trust Fund as is." Thoughtless spending is always a danger. One way to guard against waste is through needs based planning. Roads are essen tial. Needs are pressing. Highway use is up 50% in 10 years. Traffic and weather cause rapid deterio ration. Roads require continuous S * maintaining, upgrading, rebuild ing. The Trust Fund brings organi zation and long-range planning to the road support effort. The public benefits through efficiencies com ing with an orderly management approach. Caterpillar engines power highway trucks. Our machines build roads. We see use taxes dis persed through a Trust Fund as a key to our nation's over-the-road transportation requirements. There are no simple solutions. Only intelligent choices. Q CATERPILLAR Caterpillar Cat and 0 are Trademarks of Caterpillar Tractor Co.