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Now states who don’t think the federal highway funding program is in their best interest can opt out.I’m still undecided about whether this is a positive move and its ramifications. I think some of the highway needs should be able to determined at the state level. However, there does need to be some of kind of unity and consistency to ensure the highways are being maintained across the nation.
U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Texas’ senior Senator, has introduced legislation that will allow states to opt out of the federal program. Rather than receiving funding for highway maintenance and construction via the federal formula, opt-out states would instead be rebated gas tax dollars generated within their borders to use on surface transportation projects.
Sen. Hutchison’s bill is being cosponsored by Sens. Mel Martinez (R-FL), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Jon Kyl (R-AZ). Companion legislation is being introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ). Hutchinson says the current funding formula is no longer serving the best interests of each states.
I do agree with Hutchinson’s assessment that “we must add highway capacity in areas where population and commercial growth is exceeding what our infrastructure can withstand. Likewise, our funding structure must change to meet these shifting priorities.”
For the press release and more details on the legislation, click here.