Transportation-industry groups call for long-term federal funding

Several major transportation-industry groups recently encouraged Congress to approve a long-term highway and transit funding bill, rather than let it become another casualty of political posturing.

The organizations are calling for sustainable funding for agencies involved in highway and transit programs, which they view as crucial for the U.S. economy.

"Because states count on prompt payment from the federal government to be able to manage cash flow and pay contractors for completed work, any delay in reimbursement from the FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) will cause a significant disruption in all states,” John Cox, director of the Wyoming Department of Transportation and president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation officials, said.

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), in testimony, urged Congress to carve out more dedicated revenue for the Highway Trust Fund so that lawmakers would not be faced with the same funding cliff later, when temporary measures run out.

"We need a sustainable funding solution to put this critical national program back on solid footing for the next decade," the ARTBA testimony said. The group repeated its call for Congress to raise federal motor-fuel user fees as the most effective way to increase dedicated trust-fund receipts.

"While some are worried about the political consequences of voting for a real trust-fund fix, the rest of America is worried about commute times growing, bridges being closed, shipping costs increasing and jobs being lost,” ARTBA said. “It's time for both parties to work together for America to put this behind us."

"The uncertainty of recent federal authorizing laws and lack of predictable funding of the federal transit program have made it nearly impossible for the industry to keep the system in a state of good repair, replace the aging infrastructure and fleets, and address the growing demand for service," Michael Melaniphy, CEO of the American Public Transportation Association, said. "Short-term authorizations increase project costs and decrease certainty for long-term planning.

"The next program will absolutely require a wide range of funding options," Melaniphy said. "But for the immediate future, we feel strongly that the base program must restore and increase the purchasing power of the federal motor-fuels user tax while we concurrently move with a true sense of urgency to develop and implement a national transportation future funding model that is both economically and environmentally sustainable. We need to have funding predictability, both for our agencies and our private-sector partners."

Organizations in this Story

American Road & Transportation Builders Association

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