Dear State DOT Director:
I am writing to follow up on my letter of May 7, 2014, regarding the impending Highway Trust Fund shortfall.
The situation remains dire.
As you may know, in about a month, the balance of the Highway Trust Fund’s Highway Account will likely dip below a critical threshold at which the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) must begin to implement cash management procedures. Upon doing so, we will take every reasonable and appropriate step to fully reimburse your state for as long as possible. To be clear, however, if the trust fund becomes insolvent, DOT will likely need to delay some reimbursements owed to your agency. We understand and regret that such measures may be necessary as the current construction season is ongoing. We have and will continue to sound the alarm bell that hundreds of projects and thousands of jobs are at risk.
In the next few weeks, we will provide specific guidance on our cash management approach and when it is likely to go into effect. We do so with the goal of providing you as much notice as possible.
Having served in local government and from my frequent conversations with State DOT CEOs like you, I know how difficult this looming insolvency is for you, your team, and communities within your State that are depending on your work. After eighteen continuing resolutions and nine extensions, you know well that the current crisis is just the latest iteration of a longstanding problem—less revenue in the Highway Trust Fund, more uncertainty and, out of a crisis, a push for short-term measures. The cumulative effect is a system badly in need of a change, and working with you, we plan to keep pressing the case for a real solution.
Since January, DOT has published a "Highway Trust Fund Ticker"—a monthly update of our latest projections on the looming insolvency. The HTF Ticker also is a helpful way to keep States and congressional leaders updated; the enclosed charts, which also can be found on our website, http://www.dot.gov/highway-trust-fund-ticker, show our latest estimates.
I encourage you to join me in urging Congress to ensure the continued solvency of the trust fund while committing to a longer term agreement on surface transportation funding that increases investment and contains the policy drivers that put our country in a better position to get projects done, grow jobs, and improve quality of life for all Americans.
If I can provide further information or assistance, please feel free to call me.
Anthony R. Foxx