Vanderbilt Law Review

Article Title

Motor Carrier Taxation


Hal H. Hale

First Page



Provisions of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 vastly expanded the federal role in highway improvement on a long range basis, especially with respect to the so-called Interstate System. Authorizations of highway aid were further increased substantially by Congress in legislation enacted in 1958. The 1956 act for the first time also provided that the funds to pay for federal aid highway programs should come from specified levies upon highway users and a highway trust fund was established for this purpose. Owing principally to cost increases exceeding the original estimates, it has become apparent since the 1956 act was passed that the revenues earmarked for the trust fund will not suffice to pay for the costs of the federal aid programs as projected into future years. Thus, the federal aid highway programs are not yet on an assured basis of full support from highway user tax revenues although the 1956 act contains a declaration of policy for the Congress to enact further legislation, as from time to time may be required, in order to effect a balance in the highway trust fund between total receipts and total expenditures. To accomplish this purpose, assuming that the programs are to go forward as projected, additional federal highway user taxes are going to be necessary to sustain the trust fund.