AASHTO urges immediate action on transportation bill;
inaction by Congress may cost states billions
As states push to create jobs and improve highways through the economic stimulus program, inaction on an extension of the highway and transit authorization is likely to reduce federal funding by $12 billion in FY 2010. That would reduce the program by almost 30 percent.
“It’s shocking that just as we see the glimmer of recovery, the Congress may pull back $12 billion in vitally needed highway, transit and safety funds by failing to enact an extension of the expiring highway and transit program,” said John Horsley, AASHTO Executive Director.
A one-month stop-gap continuation has been included in the pending continuing resolution.
However, without a separate extension bill, budget rules will require that the FY 2010 federal-aid highway, highway safety, motor carrier and transit programs be cut by $12 .1 billion; $11.9 billion of which will come from the highway program.
While the House passed a three-month extension on Wednesday, the Senate has yet to schedule the bill for the floor. Senate transportation leaders are focusing efforts on an 18-month extension favored by the Administration. With no hint of a compromise, and the threat of a possible filibuster, action in the Senate is at a standstill.
“What Congress gave with one hand, they may soon be taking away with the other,” said Horsley. “The $12 billion reduction will wipe out any gains from the second year of stimulus funding before we even begin. We strongly urge Congress to resolve this in the short time that remains.”