Bud Wright, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), issued a statement over the weekend after Congress passed a two-month extension that would sustain the Highway Trust Fund through July.
"We are disappointed and frustrated," Wright said. "This two-month extension is a reflection of the inability of Congress to fund a long-term surface transportation bill, which has caused uncertainty among our members."
The two-month extension comes on the heels of a 10-month extension adopted in 2014. A recent Los Angeles Times editorial said the popular support is there for infrastructure improvements. The funding gap is largely due to a gasoline tax that has not been updated or adjusted since 1993. Vehicles becoming more fuel efficient since then, and the tax having not been tied to inflation are major factors for budget shortfalls in the fund, a Congressional Budget Office report said.
"State DOTs are already postponing construction projects this year because they can't count on federal funds to be there," Wright said. "Millions of dollars that should be flowing into communities, creating jobs, and paying for projects to improve safety and mobility aren't being funded. Congress must find the political will to pass a long-term bill and put these short-term patches aside."