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Primer on Federal Surface Transportation Authorization and the Highway Trust Fund
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    Today, travel on roads and rail in the United States requires 10 million barrels of oil per day and is the source of over 23 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Faced with a real threat to national security from both climate change and oil dependence, the 112th Congress has an opportunity to achieve significant oil savings and GHG reductions from the U.S. transportation sector. The Pew Center on Global Climate Change recently released a comprehensive assessment of opportunities to reduce GHG emissions from the entire sector (Greene & Plotkin, 2011). A white paper was also released called “Saving Oil and Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions through U.S. Federal Transportation Policy” that contains strategies and policy options to save oil and reduce GHG emissions with existing transportation law and federal surface transportation reauthorization. This paper provides a primer on both federal surface transportation authorization and the main recipient of funding from the legislation, the federal highway trust fund (HTF).

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