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Moving Americans into the 21st Century
Q & A: #VIII-1
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Question VIII-1: It has been stated that the $198 billion in guaranteed spending is subject to revision, even downwards. What factors do you see that could cause that guaranteed spending figure to increase or decrease?

Answer: The guaranteed funding level of $198 billion over the 6-year authorization period is made up of two separate guarantees. The transit guaranteed level of $36 billion is not subject to adjustment. The guaranteed level for highway and intermodal programs, starts out at $162 billion, with annual amounts specified. Beginning with FY 2000, the annual amount guaranteed for highways will be adjusted based on tax receipts to the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund.

The receipt tax assumptions used in developing TEA-21 are stated in the legislation. They are based on Congressional Budget Office estimates made in February 1998. The adjustment is determined each year by comparing the latest projection of Highway Account tax receipts for the fiscal year to the tax receipt projections used in the development of TEA-21. The difference, either positive or negative, is used to adjust the guaranteed funding level.

The latest projections show tax receipts for 2000-2003, the years to be adjusted, to be a total of $2.5 billion higher than the receipts assumed in TEA-21, so we are anticipating increases in the guaranteed spending levels.

Trust Fund receipts, derived primarily from fuel taxes, reflect changes in travel and fuel consumption. Highway travel in the United States moves in step with our economy. As our economy grows, so does Trust Fund income. [August 7, 1998]

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