With the passage of short-term FAA funding reauthorization, New York releasing its state infrastructure report card and more states prioritizing their infrastructure needs, Congress must now turn its attention to passing a long-term transportation bill before Oct. 29.
This week, Congress approved a six-month extension of current aviation funding and policy that will keep projects moving, maintain revenue collection and keep Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees on the job until a long-term bill can be enacted. While an extension is certainly not ideal, it is better than letting the funding expire.
At the state level, New York this week released its inaugural infrastructure report card. While the Empire State received a C- overall, roads and bridges, received a D- and D+ respectively, illustrating the need for significant investment and repair. According to the report, “New York City-area drivers, which account for half the state’s population, each spend 53 hours per year just sitting in traffic.”
New York isn’t the only state with infrastructure woes. In Arizona, budget shortfalls are resulting in the state’s inability to invest in its transportation needs. According to a recent article published in the Arizona Daily Star, The Arizona Department of Transportation will need about $88.9 billion in its 25-year plan to ensure “minimum acceptable conditions” for the state highway system. In Texas, funding for roads has become a priority in their upcoming election, as Proposition 7 would dedicate $2.5 billion of the general sales and use tax and 35 percent of the vehicle sales tax to the construction and maintenance of non-toll highways.
With the deadline for renewing the Highway Trust Fund quickly approaching and more states realizing their need for long-term surface transportation funding, publications like Bloomberg and The Hill have emphasized the importance of the federal gas tax to generate funding. October 1 marked 22 years since the last federal gas tax increase.
In July, the Senate passed a bill that provides six years of policy reforms and three years of funding to improve the nation’s roads, bridges and transit systems. Now it’s time for the House to act. You can help by reminding your members of Congress to act quickly to #Fix the Trust Fund before the Oct. 29 deadline.