[Editor] From American Association of Highway and Transportation Officials, released June 26, 2008. [/Editor]
An estimated 380,000 thousand jobs and hundreds of construction projects are in jeopardy across the nation after Congress failed this week to fix a 3.3 billion dollar deficit in the Highway Trust Fund. The House and Senate dropped a provision from a three-month aviation tax extension bill that would have provided $8 billion to keep the nationâ€™s transportation account solvent.
AASHTO Executive Director John Horsley expressed his strong disappointment saying, â€œIf members of Congress believe that this failure to act has no consequences, theyâ€™re wrong.â€ Most states depend on federal funding to support transportation projects, but states wonâ€™t know if their federal highway funding will be cut by 34 percent until their fiscal year begins. For many states, the fiscal year starts on July 1.
This failure to act sets the stage for a last minute effort in late September to rescue Americaâ€™s Transportation Account. If that does not occur, the federal-aid highway program will be reduced by $13.5 and $20 billion.
This loss would be another blow to the transportation industry, which is suffering from a stagnant economy, high fuel prices, inflationary pressures, and natural disasters.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is the â€œVoice of Transportationâ€ representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. AASHTO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association serving as a catalyst for excellence in transportation.