AASHTO Journal, 1 June 2012
American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Executive Director John Horsley released a statement yesterday warned House and Senate members of the transportation conference committee of the consequences if Congress fails to approve a surface transportation bill before the current extension expires next month.
“Thousands of jobs will be lost unless the House and Senate can put politics aside and move forward on a highway and transit bill,” Horsley said. “Without this bill, America’s surface transportation programs will shut down July 1 and it’s virtually certain that next year, drastic cutbacks will need to be made because of a revenue shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund. The nation’s economic recovery and the communities served by departments of transportation in every state are depending on Congress to do its job. AASHTO today is calling on the Conference Committee to negotiate an agreement and pass a transportation bill without delay.”
State transportation departments have been operating on short-term extensions of the nation’s last surface transportation bill, SAFETEA-LU, since September 30, 2009. The current extension, which stands as the ninth, is set to expire June 30.
The Senate in mid-March passed MAP-21, a two-year $109 bill surface transportation authorization bill. The House, meanwhile, in mid-April approved HR 4348, a 90-day extension of the current surface transportation authorization that included Keystone Pipeline provisions.
Conferees from both the House and Senate began formal negotiations in early May, working toward a final surface transportation reauthorization proposal.