The fix (for transportation funding) isn't in yet, and that's a bad thing

Posted by mmcmullan on 03/13/2014

Big day at the House Transportation Committee yesterday. The committee took a look at the reauthorization of the 'Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act' (MAP-21) as well as President Obama’s 2015 budget request for transportation funding.

So here’s the rub: MAP-21 -- which authorizes the Department of Transportation's (DOT) federal highway, transit, and highway safety programs -- became law in July 2012. But it expires in September, and it’s dangerously underfunded. According to DOT, the Highway Trust Fund account that pays for highway and rail projects will drop below $4 billion in July.

That’s a big number on its own, but let's put it into context. It's not a lot of money for construction and maintenance on transportation projects nationwide. And it happens to be the trigger at which DOT will have to begin slowing federal reimbursements to states who use federal money to fix their roads, rails, tunnels, and bridges.

That means the deadline for shoring up funding for transportation will need to take place in July – not in September.  

But what about the White House's funding plan? Well, the administration gets part of it right: It laid out a $302 billion funding proposal in its 2015 budget that would dedicate additional funding to transportation projects. That’s good. Plus, its forthcoming proposal for a reauthorized MAP-21 act is expected to last for four years instead of two. Also good.

But we’re definitely concerned by the White House's proposal to fund MAP-21 with a windfall from corporate tax reform. That puts a lot of transportation chips on a very uncertain thing: the ability of Washington to see tax reform through this year.

Without federal funds to back them up, states across the nation are going to be pressed to prioritize what roads and bridges need fixing.

And lots of those bridges definitely need help. According to Transportation for America:

If all 66,503 structurally deficient U.S. bridges were placed end to end, you could drive from Washington, DC to Denver, CO entirely on deficient bridges. At 55 mph, you’d be taking your chances for over 28 hours on one, long, bad American bridge.

And if you’re still not convinced of the need to secure funding for MAP-21 and transportation projects across America, you can go to the Transportation for America website and find a bridge in need of repair near you.

Related recent Blogs

@KeepitMadeinUSA on Twitter

  • We agree! RT@tomhanks: Great summer reading. I give it 42 stars. No, I give it 142 stars. Yeah, it's THAT good. Hanx. http://t.co/6GoomroCPK 14 hours 50 min ago
  • ICYMI: @VP talks infrastructure in a new video: http://t.co/15CJIHrjwU It's time for a long-term plan to #RebuildAmerica. 16 hours 3 min ago
  • 87% of Democrats & more than 90% of Republicans think this is an important issue. http://t.co/iWq1gepeyW 1 day 13 hours ago
  • The White House & Congress joined forces to strengthen workforce training — and they can do more to help workers: http://t.co/Jath06pjr0 1 day 13 hours ago
  • .@VP talks infrastructure in a new video: http://t.co/15CJIHrjwU It's time for a long-term plan to Rebuild America: http://t.co/XA0xKcTBjm 1 day 13 hours ago
  • Hey @BarackObama: We think strengthening workforce training is great. Now let's make sure workers can find jobs. http://t.co/ihrgEibD9W 1 day 14 hours ago
  • RT @ScottPaulAAM: Rarity: D&R voters overwhelmingly agree #TPP should prohibit currency manipulation. So do House & Senate. More here: http… 1 day 14 hours ago
  • Trade agreements shld have mechanisms allowing U.S. to take action if currency manipulation is found to be taking place, @ScottPaulAAM says. 1 day 14 hours ago
  • Americans are united: Lawmakers must work to prohibit currency manipulation when negotiating trade deals. http://t.co/bVXitD5Sno 1 day 14 hours ago
  • Currency manipulation isn't always on the minds of Americans, but they oppose trade deals unless it's prohibited. http://t.co/TeXTOFKnMi 1 day 14 hours ago