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May 7 Letter from Secretary Foxx to State DOT Directors on the Highway Trust Fund

Dear State DOT Director:

The approaching Highway Trust Fund shortfall matter is of great concern to all of us who are engaged in the work of building our Nation's infrastructure, particularly becuase the Highway Trust Fund supplies a significant portion of the funds that each State depends upon for critical infrastructure repairs and new construction.  Given its imperiled status, I am writing to give you a brief status report.
 
When Congress adopted the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) in the summer of 2012, it was expected that sufficient funds would be deposited in the Highway Trust Fund to support our Nation’s transportation investments through the end of the current fiscal year in September.  It now appears that the fund may face insolvency as soon as August.  The reason is simple—not enough revenue is coming into the fund to support the ongoing work necessary to maintain our roads, bridges, highways, and transit system. 

Since January, we have published a "Highway Trust Fund Ticker" to show our latest projections on the looming insolvency.  The enclosed chart, which also can be found on our website at http://www.dot.gov/highway-trust-fund-ticker, shows the current status of the Highway Trust Fund and the funding trajectory for the coming months. 
 
As you can see from the chart, the highway account of the trust fund is likely to dip below the critical $4 billion funding level as soon as July, and the transit account will fall below $1 billion sometime in August.  Going forward, I will be sharing revisions to this chart with you on a monthly basis and updating the website as new information becomes available.
  
I know first-hand the difficulties that each of you face in trying to plan construction work, significant infrastructure projects, and even state of good repair work, without a clear sense of how—or even whether—that work will be funded. 
 
As Secretary, it also is my responsibility to let you know of the measures that the U.S. Department of Transportation will be required to take in the coming months if Congress does not take action to replenish the Highway Trust Fund.  While we will take every step possible to continue to fully reimburse your State for as long as possible, these measures will effectively require us to delay reimbursements that are owed to your agency and the transit agencies in your State.  In the coming months, I will continue to keep you apprised of our specific cash management plans and when they are likely to go into effect.                                                                                

As you may know, many members of the Administration have been sounding the alarm on this concern for several months.  President Obama spoke publicly about this threat as recently as last month and called upon Congress to significantly increase investments in transportation so that you and your agencies can continue to address the many road, rail and transit needs in your State.  We plan to take an active role in helping Congress commit to a longer term agreement on surface transportation funding on a bipartisan basis.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can provide additional information on this matter.

Sincerely,
Anthony R. Foxx

Updated: Friday, June 20, 2014