Budgeting for Capital Investment: Testimony Before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Publication Date: June 2008
Publisher(s): Tax Policy Center
Author(s): Rudolph G. Penner
Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Keywords: Economy; Federal Budgets & Fiscal Policy; Taxes, the Budget, and the Economy; Budget Issues
The unified budget of the U. S. government is, in most respects, a cash budget. It is somewhat biased against public investment, because the benefits of such investments accrue over a period of time whereas the cash outlay is immediate. This testimony looks at options for directing more funds to highways, mass transit, and other public investments. It examines higher fuel taxes, tolls and congestion fees; capital budgeting; infrastructure banks; a capital revolving fund; public-private partnerships; and approaches to improving the efficiency of current grants and subsidies. It concludes that tolls and congestion fees are very promising as are public-private partnerships. A capital revolving fund would be useful for agencies that only invest occasionally. A capital budget and infrastructure banks are less desirable.