Several states delay projects due to uncertainty in funding of Highway Trust

Several states have delayed or put other projects on hold over uncertainty in federal funding of the Highway Trust Fund.
At least four states have announced they are putting transportation and highway projects on hold this month due to uncertainty over federal funding from the Highway Trust Fund, said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

The fund is set to expire on May 31, and Foxx said the states were delaying the projects as they wait for lawmakers to pass a bill appropriating money to the fund. He added short-term extensions to the federal highway program negatively affect the economy.

Russell McMurry, commissioner for the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT), delayed 329 projects across the state, which would cost a combined $715 million. The total costs include projects in the preliminary engineering stage.

"The impact of this large list of delayed projects becomes compounded with each day that we do not have a transportation funding bill, so we are very hopeful for a bill very soon," Meg Pirkle, the Georgia DOT's chief engineer, said in a statement to AASHTO Journal.

John Cox, director of the Wyoming Department of Transportation, said in a March 17 congressional hearing that he has tabled about 18 construction projects worth about $28.5 million due to the uncertainty in federal funding.

"With the uncertainty of when – or even if – Congress will authorize the rest of the 2015 program, Wyoming and other cold-weather states may miss this construction year for a full third of our programs," Cox said during the hearing.

The Arkansas Highway Transportation Department ended about $27 million of infrastructure improvements in five projects. In October, Tennessee was the first to delay about 12 projects ready for construction and about 21 other projects worth about $400 million.