President Obama has called for an immediate solution to the impending insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund, using the structurally deficient Francis Scott Key Bridge (Key Bridge) in Washington, D.C. recently as his backdrop. In his remarks, the President pointed out that transportation funding has historically been a bipartisan effort; Congress has provided money consistently and without controversy for the past 100 years.
“If this Congress does not act by the end of the summer, the Highway Trust Fund will run out,” remarked President Obama. “All told, nearly 700,000 jobs could be at risk next year. Right now there are more than 100,000 active projects across the country, where workers are repaving roads and rebuilding bridges and modernizing our transit systems. Soon, our states may have to choose which projects to continue and which projects to put the brakes on because they’re running out of money.”
“The Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) applauds the President’s sense of urgency regarding the Highway Trust Fund,” said Mort Downey, CAGTC Founding Chairman. “As state DOTs grapple with funding uncertainties this summer, freight projects around the country are grinding to a halt and our economic recovery is suffering. Congress must act.”
President Obama also alluded to the fact that other countries are aggressively investing in their own infrastructure and pointed out that the need for action falls to Congress, who must act within the next few weeks to keep workers on the job. He referred to middle-class Americans who will suffer and to workers who will lose their jobs if Congress lets the insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund fall victim to political scorekeeping.
“Transportation infrastructure and business are intrinsically connected,” said Leslie Blakey, CAGTC President and Executive Director. “The President has taken action on this issue where he can by slashing red tape and speeding up project delivery. A commitment to infrastructure investment is critical for America to ensure an efficient and reliable transportation system that will continue to support job growth.”