The American Road & Transportation Builders Association reports that four states have canceled or delayed transportation improvement projects due to inaction by Congress in providing for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) beyond the current May 31 funding deadline.
Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Wyoming have canceled or delayed roughly $780 million in projects.
In addition to these four states, nine more “have expressed concern over the feasibility of future transportation infrastructure projects,” ARTBA said. Colorado, Connecticut, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and West Virginia represent more than $1.8 billion in projects that are threatened by the HTF uncertainty.
“It’s déjà vu all over again as Yogi Berra would say,” ARTBA President & CEO Pete Ruane said. “This is one of the most easily avoidable crises because Congress has known the May deadline was coming for about eight months. Yet, here we are again flirting with another economic meltdown in the peak of the construction season.”
The HTF funds 52 percent of all highway and bridge “capital investments” by state governments, ARTBA said, adding that the HTF has had five revenue shortfalls between 2008 and 2014.
There have been some efforts to provide long-term funding. However, $478 billion transportation funding amendment to the 2016 budget put forth by Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was struck down March 24, and most pundits believe any fix will be short-live and simple an exercise in “kicking the can down the road.”