You are here

highway trust fund

We can't keep hitting the "Snooze" button on transportation

Click here for the full text of Secretary Foxx's remarks at the National Press Club on which this blog post is based.

Almost since my first day as Secretary of Transportation, I have been ringing the alarm bell about the looming insolvency of the highway trust fund --the federal source that helps pay for our nation's highways and transit. 

Last week--after weeks and weeks of alarm, an online Highway Trust Fund ticker we've updated every month, an April bus tour, meetings with dozens of governors and mayors and stakeholders, and a lot of my own shoe leather on Capitol Hill-- the U.S. House passed a measure to avert the crisis with a ten-month patch. Later this week, the Senate is expected to take up a similar measure. 

But let's not kid ourselves: this is a short-term patch, and if it passes, it's hard not to imagine that Congress will simply hit the snooze button on this issue the next time it rolls around.

Western states speeding up transportation projects; future gains rely on long-term certainty

Earlier this week, while in Albuquerque taking part in the Western Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (WASHTO) 2014 meeting, I had a great opportunity to see firsthand what New Mexico and the 17 other WASHTO member states are doing to get projects done sooner. Their work can be summed up in two words – innovation and investment. Those words are also the cornerstone of FHWA’s “Every Day Counts” (EDC) program to promote state-based project delivery efforts.

The WASHTO conference theme, “Crossroads to the Future,” was right on target, in part because New Mexico and its western counterparts are stepping forward to meet the challenges they face with resolve and ingenuity.

Unfortunately, the kind of progress achieved in New Mexico and throughout the WASHTO region is at risk. Much depends on the willingness of Congress to pass a long-term transportation bill that gives our states the funding and policy certainty they need to continue planning other projects like these...

Photo of work on Paseo-I25

Obama Administration ready to Rebuild America

Most of the time, when people think about transportation, they think of our nation’s roads and bridges, or maybe our airports, railroad tracks or transit lines.  But there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that makes all of those forms of transportation, along with many others, more safe and efficient.  Yesterday, I had a chance to see some of that work firsthand, when I joined President Obama in visiting DOT’s Turner Fairbank Research Center.  During our visit, we were able to see some of the innovative technologies DOT engineers are working on that will make important improvements in how Americans drive in the future.

For example, the President got to do a little driving in a simulator that features vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. This technology will eventually help stop crashes before they happen and make it easier for us to avoid traffic jams.

He and I agree that's the kind of transportation progress we like to see...

Photo of President Obama driving simulator at Turner-Fairbank Research Center
President Barack Obama prepares to drive a vehicle simulator during a tour of the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

States feel pinch as Highway Trust Fund shortfall threatens

Last week, I swung through three states in two days, hopping from Kentucky to Rhode Island and then down the I-95 corridor to Connecticut.

Drivers in these states, like drivers in so many others, know their roads and bridges are in need of investment. In Kentucky, almost a third of the roads are rated in poor or mediocre condition. And in Connecticut and Rhode Island, close to three-quarters of the bridges are structurally obsolete.  Twenty-mile backups on I-95 are all too common in those states.

I wish I could say I was visiting those states to off help, asking their governors, “What more can the federal government do? Where can we invest more in your bridges? How about your roads? Your transit systems?”

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to ask those questions.

Due to inaction in Congress, I was forced to deliver an entirely different message: “Soon, you won’t be receiving more transportation funding –you’ll be receiving less.”

Photo of Secretary Foxx meeting with Connecticut elected officials

DOT Memo on Reimbursement Procedures during a Cash Shortfall of the Highway Trust Fund

Memo to DOT officials and staff providing procedures for reimbursement during a cash shortfall in the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). Unless otherwise directed, cash management procedures will be implemented on August 1, 2014. These cash management procedures will continue until further notice.
 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - highway trust fund