AASHTO Journal, 7 February 2014
A coalition of 17 governors across the nation last week penned a letter to Congress, calling for action to stabilize transportation funding in the name of public safety and economic prosperity.
While the letter thanks Congress for the current surface transportation bill, MAP-21, the governors asked that Congress find a more sustainable, long-term solution for transportation funding.
“We are very concerned that the reauthorization did not provide a long-term revenue solution to address the growing shortfall between revenue going in the Highway Trust Fund and the amount necessary even to maintain current federal investment levels for these programs,” says the letter. “This situation is creating great uncertainty about the viability of our long-term transportation improvement plans. And if remedial action is not taken in a timely manner, the consequences would harm the economy of every state.”
This letter comes just weeks after Gov. Mary Fallin (R-OK) testified to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee at the committee’s first hearing addressing MAP-21 reauthorization (see related AASHTO Journal story here), where Fallin stressed what she and other governors would like to see in the next transportation bill.
“States need federal funding stability and certainty to pursue long-term planning and project delivery. Governors also support state flexibility to make investments in infrastructure projects through existing and new self-sustaining financing mechanisms to help mitigate public funding shortfalls,” Fallin said. “All funding options must be on the table for ongoing evaluation because existing revenue sources are no longer adequate to support the various federal trust funds that help finance surface transportation and infrastructure.”
The letter highlights the work that states are doing to find funding sources for transportation at the state level, but that additional help is needed from the federal government to make sure the nation’s transportation system is safe and sufficient for its users.
“States across the nation are undertaking a variety of approaches to provide sufficient resources to fund our state transportation programs,” according to the letter. “We urge you to act as soon as possible to stabilize the Highway Trust Fund’s revenue situation for the long-term so the successful federal-state partnership that created the Interstate Highway System can deliver the national surface transportation network our nation requires.”
The full letter is available here.