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Table 2 previously discussed. Cumulative obligations, column 5, and cumulative Trust Fund disbursements, column 8, through September 30, 1977 total $92.963 billion, providing for complete liquidation of all authorizations for the 1978 and prior fiscal years.
Cumulative revenues to the Trust Fund, column 11, total $95.069 billion or $2.106 billion in excess of disbursements. The excess would be available for additional Federal-aid highway authorizations either to complete the Interstate System should future cost estimates for any reason exceed that of 1970, or for other highway programs. Under existing Highway Trust Fund legislation, it could not be used for any other purpose.
The Trust Fund cash balance at the end of each fiscal year, column 12, will reach a peak of $8.829 billion on June 30, 1976. However, through the 1975 fiscal year, unliquidated obligations, column 9, exceed the balances, thus resulting in unfunded liabilities owed by the Fund as shown in column 13. Thereafter the Trust Fund balances would be greater than the unliquidated obligations and an excess of $2,106 billion would accrue by the termination of the Trust Fund. However, should total Federal-aid authorizations for the 1977 and 1978 fiscal years continue at the $6 billion annual level of 1972 through 1976, then total revenues would be about $4 billion less than cumulative authorizations,
Figure 5 portrays in dashed lines, graphically, the relationship of Federal-aid highway programs and the Highway Trust Fund, based on the Treasury Department projection through September 30, 1977, as set forth in its recent report. The indicated sharp increase in disbursements after June 30, 1977 is based on the Department's assumption that all authorizations will be obligated and liquidated by the Trust Fund termination date of September 30, 1977. This is hardly practical. If the Trust Fund is to be terminated on that date, a more realistic assumption would be to cease revenue collections then and provide a two or three year grace period for liquidation of outstanding obligations.
The highway program has changed in many ways in recent years and will continue to change in the future to meet newly emerging social and environmental problems. Even if the Highway Trust Fund should not be continued beyond September 30, 1977, or should it be terminated earlier for any reason, it
BILLIONS OF DOLLARS
cannot mean the end of the highway program. Highway transportation will continue to dominate in passenger movements for the forseeable future and to contribute substantially to the movement of goods. There are no proven revolutionary changes developing in other transportation modes which will provide acceptable substitutes for the motor vehicle. Highway transportation requirements have kept pace with or exceeded growth of the Gross National Product. It is to be expected that this relationship will continue in the future if we are to have a viable economy and that highway programs will of necessity continue to increase in magnitude.