Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said a Congressional Budget Office report that the highway trust fund would be empty by fiscal year 2014 shows President Obama has been right to call for increased funding for transportation projects.
The CBO released a report Tuesday that predicted the deficit will rise to $1.08 trillion in 2012. Under its calculations, the highway trust fund, which funds road projects using collections from the federal gas tax, will be running on empty just two years after that.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Tuesday that the projection was not a surprise.
"We've known for a long time that people are driving less and they are driving more fuel efficient cars," LaHood told reporters after a speech to the Washington Aero Club.
"That's why the president talked about a transportation bill and a jobs bill, he talked about using some of the money from the two wars," he continued. "We were all concerned that we weren't talking about the pay-fors."
The CBO report projects the highway trust to have a $12 billion at the end of the current fiscal year, which began last July, and a $3 billion balance in the 2013 budget year that will begin this summer.
The reports finds by 2014 the trust fund, which is at the center of the current debate over a new federal highway bill, will reach zero.