FROM THE EDITOR: HTF is safe for now as the industry goads Congress
Upon congressional passage in early August of legislation to extend $10.8 billion funding for the Highway Trust Fund through May 2015, trade associations from every niche in the transportation industry were out with their statements. Everyone appears relieved but underwhelmed by the outcome, considering the horrendous amount of work left to do and Congress giving no marching orders to forge ahead and get it done.
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The Secretary of Transportation Anthony R. Foxx is disappointed by the continuing kids’ game:
“While I am pleased that Congress took action to avoid the immediate insolvency of the Highway Account this summer, I am disappointed that they merely kicked the can down the road again,” he said. “This is the tenth surface transportation extension-on top of 18 short-term budget measures — in the last six years. So in the coming months, the Department will again prepare cash management procedures in anticipation of repeating the same Highway Trust Fund insolvency crisis. Americans deserve a multi-year transportation bill that provides the certainty that businesses and communities deserve.”
American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President and CEO Michael Melaniphy emphasized that this is only a short-term fix.
“While keeping the Highway Trust Fund solvent as a necessary first step to avoid a funding crisis, Congress still needs to fund a long-term solution for transportation in the coming months,” he said. “With the crisis deferred, it is essential that Congress stay focused and complete its work that recognizes this demand and provides the needed investment in our nation’s aging transportation infrastructure.”
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Executive Director Bud Wright told Congress to keep moving:
“State transportation officials across the country are relieved that the Highway Trust Fund will continue to support critically needed highway and transit projects,” he said. “More than 660,000 jobs and at least 6,000 state DOT construction projects were at risk. Congress must keep America working and the economy moving forward by passing a long-term surface transportation reauthorization bill that is supported by a sustainable source of funding as soon as possible.“