State, local government leaders testify at House committee, urge lawmakers to pass highway fund bill

Federal lawmakers are still drafting long-term legislation to appropriate funds to the Highway Trust Fund before it expires on May 31.

The U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing on March 17, and city and state officials testified at the hearing about their needs for a strong highway fund program. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory testified during the hearing as an executive member of the National Governors Association.

McCrory told lawmakers that there is strong bipartisan support among governors in the association for a surface transportation program that gives states certainty about funding. He also said the governors wish to have more flexibility on how states can spend federal shares of the funding.

John Cox, director of the Wyoming Department of Transportation (DOT), represented state DOTs as the president of the American Association of State Highways and Transportation Officials.

“Our country needs a federal transportation program providing robust investment levels coupled with long-term funding stability," Cox said.

He added about 68 percent of Wyoming DOT's spending comes from federal funds and criticized proposals that advocate ending the federal program and make states decide on transportation investment decisions.

Ralph Becker, Salt Lake City mayor and president of the National League of Cities, said the uncertainty created at the federal level is “causing discord in the intergovernmental partnership, and driving up the risk and costs associated with transportation finance and innovation."