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The Heavy Highway Use Tax: Where Does Your Money Go?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The Heavy Highway Use Tax: Where Does Your Money Go?

James Druman
December 27, 2009

James Druman

The Heavy Highway Use Tax can seem like a nuisance to those who have to dig into their pocket each year and fork it over, especially as a new business owner or truck driver. Many consider it a bit unproductive to charge because big trucks provide the infrastructure that runs our country and cities.

But when you take a closer look at the significance the Heavy Highway Use Tax has for society, it starts to make a little more sense. Did you know that in 2006 the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax provided over $1 billion for the Federal Highway Trust Fund? That's just in one year.

So where does that money go? After all, that is a lot of money.

If only that could be summed up in one sentence. There really is a broad spectrum of uses for this tax.

A lot of this money is used for the building and maintenance of the highways that make modern transportation possible. It takes a lot of money to keep the transportation grid up-to-date and functioning properly.

For instance, money is needed to acquire new land and right-of-way across private properties. The government has to pay for all the testing and engineering needed for building new roads, and then once the roads are established, they are continually resurfacing and restoring roads and the bridges that carry them across the nation.

The money also helps to keep our roads safe. Law enforcement doesn't come free, and this tax helps keep them going. Truckers typically have an interest in that happening, because if it wasn't for law enforcement, carrying valuable goods across the nation would be a dangerous game.

Various safety programs are also included. Drivers education and training works to keep our roads safe by producing educated drivers, so we have less accidents and all-around havoc. Then there are programs that make a trucker's job easier.

Congestion relief projects allow trucking companies to get through the cities without being delayed and losing profit. And the money aids in debt service as well as admin costs for research and engineering of new programs and projects throughout the nation.

And finally, a percentage of the money goes towards making this system work—to enforce the tax itself. Vehicles have to be inspected to ensure the law is upheld.

That means checking the size and weight of trucks so certain drivers don't get to cheat while everyone else pays. So as you can see, it isn't like a bunch of government officials are pocketing your hard-earned cash.

The money saves time and money for the nation and the private businessman. It saves lives by cutting down on accidents and provides reliable emergency response when the worst happens. In then end, what it means for drivers is lower fuel costs, less congestion, and more efficiency. Less energy is consumed and the air stays just a little more fresh as good are moved across the nation in an efficient manner.

For your business, it all adds up to higher productivity. So before you start grumbling, take a minute to realize all the Heavy Highway Use Tax does for your quality of life, your quality of business experience, and the quality of life in America as a whole.

When you see it that way, you realize there's no need to feel unfairly targeted. When you see it that way, you realize if it weren't for taxes like the Heavy Highway Use Tax, you wouldn't have business at all...


To learn more about the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax and how to file the paperwork electronically, making your obligation as a truck driver or trucking company just a little more convenient, go to http://www.YourTruckTax.com .

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