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April 9, 2008 8:15 AM, EDT

Trust Fund May Face Deficit, Former DOT Official Says

Susan Goldman/Bloomberg News

The main funding vehicle for the U.S. highway infrastructure will be exhausted by next year, according to a transportation expert, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Jeff Shane, who recently stepped down as an undersecretary at the Transportation Department, told a National Industrial Transportation League meeting in Arlington, Va., that the government’s Highway Trust Fund was likely to turn negative in 2009, the Journal reported.

He said Congress should shift its attention from funding individual projects to finding ways to handle the nation’s broader transportation challenges, the paper said.

Such measures could include fees for congestion, more public-private partnerships and transferring federal fuel taxes to back projects being developed by states — all of which have received lukewarm support in Congress, the Journal reported.