LaHood promises action with highway stimulus funds

| 3/18/2009

States and communities around the U.S. have begun receiving funds as directed in the recent economic stimulus package passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told the National League of Cities this week that construction is beginning on many long-overdue infrastructure projects including highways and bridges.

“In a very short time, your cities will be humming with construction workers, engineers, maintenance crews and many others,” LaHood stated.

“You’ll see roads repaved, interchanges improved, bus and rail systems repaired, upgraded, and expanded. This effort not only puts people to work, it gets people to work in a way that moves us towards our long-term goals of energy security and more livable communities.”

States and cities will also soon begin competing for other discretionary funding.

LaHood formed an oversight team known as TIGER – Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery – to track funds from the stimulus and make sure states and local governments are adhering to the intent of the law.

With short-term guidance in place for transportation via the stimulus funds, Congress is turning to the bigger, longer-term transportation funding authorization bill that could be introduced and debated as early as late spring.

Truckers will be part of the transportation-funding debate through the voice of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

Commercial trucks make up 7 percent of highway traffic, but pay for 36 percent of the Highway Trust Fund for transportation programs.

OOIDA strongly urges responsible spending of highway dollars by Congress and the DOT.

By David Tanner, staff writer