Capital: Federal Transportation Fix Falls Short

The House of Representatives recently passed an $11 billion plan to fund the federal governments share of road and bridge transportation projects for the next 10 months. This plan, which is expected to also pass the Senate, came together at a critical point as it was projected that the highway trust fund would have been insolvent by the end of August jeopardizing numerous projects already under construction.

While this fix will enable the federal government to continue to reimburse states for surface transportation projects, an editorial in the Annapolis Capital claims it is nothing to “cheer” about.

You can only patch something so many times before it falls apart. You can only substitute short-term fixes for long-term planning so many times before you do serious damage. And when it comes to America’s highway infrastructure, that point was reached long ago.

According to the editorial, this plan only gets us through the next 10 months and does nothing to address long-term infrastructure problems. It claims if Congress were serious, it would consider other transportation legislation before the body.

One of them, as The Baltimore Sun reported, is from U.S. Rep. John Delaney of Maryland. As of last month, he had more than 80 House and Senate co-sponsors, in both parties, for a proposal to allow companies that have parked cash abroad to repatriate some of it, tax-free, in exchange for investments in America’s infrastructure. Delaney has estimated this could create a $50 billion fund that could be leveraged into $750 billion in projects, without direct federal appropriations.

In closing, the editorial states that,

Leaving a cloud of uncertainty over federal highway funding discourages states from making their own long-range plans to improve roads and bridges. Meanwhile, highways deteriorate as this nation falls further behind other affluent nations in transportation spending. And infrastructure projects would generate badly needed jobs.

A press release from Congressman Delaney’s office provides additional information on the legislation he plans to introduce.

To learn more about federal funding for infrastructure projects and other policies, join us during the MACo summer conference.  Representatives from Senator Barabara Mikulski’s and Congressman John Dulaney’s office will join us to discuss their legislative efforts and more.  This session titled “Federal Funding for County Causes: Partnering  With Your Members of Congress” will be held on Friday, August 15, 2014 from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm.

Learn more about MACo’s 2014 Summer Conference:

Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White with questions about Summer Conference.