A fund that subsidizes transportation projects across the country is nearly broke, former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in an interview that will air Sunday evening.
“Our infrastructure's on life supports right now. That's what we're on,” LaHood said on CBS’s “60 Minutes.”
LaHood is co-chair of Building America’s Future, a bipartisan coalition of current and former elected officials who want increased spending on the nation’s infrastructure.
Nearly 70,000 roads and bridges need to be repaired, he said, and the U.S. needs the Highway Trust Fund to do it.
The fund is financed through the federal gas tax, which is about 18 cents per gallon. But it hasn’t been increased in two decades.
Congress recently extended the fund through May, 2015, but LaHood said improving infrastructure hasn’t been a priority for lawmakers.
“It's falling apart because we haven't made the investments. We haven't got the money,” LaHood said. “The last time we raised the gas tax, which is how we built the interstate system, was 1993.”
“Politicians in Washington don't have the political courage to say, ‘This is what we have to do.’ That's what it takes…They don't want to raise the taxes. They don't really have a vision of America the way that other Congresses have had a vision of America," he added.