DOT says highway funding will run out in July; Congress debates
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said last week that the funding for highways and other infrastructure projects will run out at the end of July, two months later than previously announced. If Congress does not pass a transportation bill that the president will sign before then, Foxx said, DOT will have to use cash management to fund highway projects.
All parties agree on the urgency of the matter, but the Senate Transportation Committee is no closer to a deal on funding. Transportation advocates, including the American Automobile Association, have urged a hike in the gas tax. But Congress continues to have no appetite for tax increases.
One of the more popular proposals, known as repatriation, would impose a one-time tax on overseas corporate profits. The administration offered such a bill last week, imposing a 14 percent tax on about $2 billion worth of overseas profits.
But a one-time tax is not a long-term solution, something everyone agrees is needed but that no one can agree on. Foxx pointed out that Congress has passed 32 short-term extensions to the transportation bill in the past six years.
Georgia and North Carolina have joined the growing list of states that have raised their state gas tax. Maryland and Virginia both raised theirs as part of a comprehensive transportation bill, though Marylandês tax increase may be in peril.
State transportation officials have said they have begun preparing for a construction shutdown, reports The Hill. Spring marks the beginning of construction season, and thousands of jobs could be at stake.
Meanwhile, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association announced that 61,000 U.S. bridges are rated structurally deficient. In Maryland and DC, 6 percent of the bridges are structurally deficient; in Virginia 8 percent are.Download Bulletin PDF