Looming Crisis in Federal Transportation Funds
This Wednesday, Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Pocari sent a letter warning state transportation departments that the Federal Highway Trust Fund is short on cash. In the near term, this shortfall will impact reimbursements to states for federally funded highway projects, potentially impacting state's payments to contractors and thus threatening highway construction jobs.
Click here to read the press release from AASHTO (the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials)
In the longer term, this shortfall underscores the need for a stable, sustained source of funding for transportation in America. Changing driving habits - partially a result of the economic downturn - and increased vehicle fuel efficiency are contributing to a decrease in gas tax revenue, the traditional funding stream for transportation. The Obama administration has called for an 18 month extension of highway funding at existing levels to give Congress time to reach a longer term solution. A letter this week to Obama from 43 House Democrats from the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee calls, instead, for "a six-year, $500 billion bill that would increase highway aid 40 percent and double transit funding."
Click to read more in this article from the Seattle Times.