With the federal Highway Trust Fund just weeks away from potential insolvency, and pressure mounting from America’s businesses, laborers, engineers, manufacturers and many others to adopt a long-term solution, Congress is moving to push consideration of options into next year.
The U.S. House has approved and sent to the Senate an $11 billion plan to fund surface transportation programs through next May. While this action, if approved, will avert an immediate economic disaster by addressing the impending insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund, these efforts also create a new, looming disaster next May.
Deferring a decision on America’s infrastructure deficit will not fix the problem and, in fact, will only create greater economic uncertainty. Congress needs to get serious about America’s future rather than bumping from one fiscal crisis to the next. States and cities cannot plan for the future if funding is only going to be approved on a short-term basis.
The Band-Aid put on the Highway Trust Fund ensures that we continue the existing inadequate funding of infrastructure that resulted in the United States being given an infrastructure grade of D+ in the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure and in Pennsylvania having seven Ds in ASCE’s recently released Report Card for Pennsylvania’s Infrastructure.
Pennsylvania’s leaders recognized these needs by passing Act 89 last November. We need bipartisan leadership from Congress and the White House to pass a long-term, reliable funding solution that will give states and cities the ability to plan for the future.
President, Pittsburgh Section
American Society of Civil Engineers
First Published July 24, 2014 8:00 PM