President Barack Obama came to Minnesota on Wednesday to trumpet his plan to pump $300 billion into transportation funding.
We wonder if there is any money in that plan for Highway 14?
The big question, however, is where will the federal government come up with $300 billion? The federal Highway Trust Fund, apparently, is about to go broke. The federal government seems to have the same problem as the state of Minnesota, relying on gasoline and diesel taxes to fund highway projects, but refusing to raise the fuel taxes for decades while the cost of building roads keeps going up and the amount of fuel people use for driving keeps going down. Before you know it, Minnesota's cost of keeping up with regular highway and bridge maintenance is about three times the revenue it takes in.
The Highway Trust Fund is in the same boat. The federal government hasn't raised the fuel taxes in 20 years, while demanding greater fuel efficiency from the auto makers. It has been pumping general fund money into the Highway Trust Fund for years, one of the reasons our national debt is so high.
So, if Obama's transportation plan is going to work he needs to figure out where the money is coming from. There are plenty of places to spend it. Right here, for example, on Highway 14.