June 22, 2009
Administration Proposes 18-Month Authorization Plan
U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood announced that the Obama Administration supports an immediate 18-month transportation reauthorization plan that will shore up the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). “If this step is not taken,” he said, “the trust fund will run out of money as soon as late August and states will be in danger of losing the vital funding they need and expect.”
While the shortfall in the Highway Account of the HTF is unrelated to the current balance in the Mass Transit Account of the HTF, if Congress and the administration consider an 18-month extension of surface transportation authorizing law (currently SAFETEA-LU), that legislation would likely extend authorizing law for both the federal transit and highway programs.
In his statement, LaHood called for “critical reforms to help us make better investment decisions with cost-benefit analysis, focus on more investments in metropolitan areas, and promote the concept of livability to more closely link home and work. The Administration opposes a gas tax increase during this challenging, recessionary period, which has hit consumers and businesses hard across our country.”
“I recognize that there will be concerns raised about this approach,” he continued. “However, with the reality of our fiscal environment and the critical demand to address our infrastructure investments in a smarter, more focused approach, we should not rush legislation. We should work together on a full reauthorization that best meets the demands of the country. The first step is making sure that the Highway Trust Fund is solvent. The next step is addressing our transportation priorities over the long term.”