AASHTO urges six-year highway funding bill

| 10/8/2003

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials has asked U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Don Young, R-AK, to proceed with urgency to reauthorize highway and transit programs.

President George Bush last week signed legislation extending federal highway and transit programs until Feb. 29, 2004. However, the continuing resolution, which he also signed, limits state transportation agencies to only one month’s funding at the FY 2003 level.

Young is among those lawmakers who want funding over a six-year period.

“We are concerned that with the enactment of the one-month continuing appropriations resolution, the administration has determined that only one month’s worth of funding will be made available for the highway, highway safety, motor carrier and transit programs. This month-to-month approach to funding will make it very difficult to approve planning, design or construction activities on any new projects,” AASHTO President John Njord said in a letter to Young.

Njord said AASHTO surveys of the state transportation agencies indicated major capital investment programs required continuity and certainty to maintain the flow of project planning, development and financing.

“Absent this stability, the project pipeline shrinks, engineering and construction contracts are delayed, equipment purchases are put on hold, and substantial jobs and dollars are lost,” Njord said.