Apr 13, 2020
AASHTO Asks Congress For $50B Fiscal Backstop For State DOTs
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has sent a letter to Congressional leadership requesting $49.95 billion to offset expected losses in state transportation revenue. AASHTO estimates a loss of 30 percent in state transportation revenues in the coming 18 months.
“This crucial federal backstop will prevent cancellations and delays of projects as well as potential job losses both in the state DOT workforce and the private sector,” AASHTO said in its letter. Job losses are already imminent, AASHTO claims, citing Pennsylvania’s plans to end paid leave for 9,000 state employees whose work locations are closed and who are unable to work remotely. Nearly two-thirds of those state employees are Pennsylvania Department of Transportation workers.
AASHTO is also asking Congress to pass “a robust surface and water transportation reauthorization legislation in order to provide a long-term boost to the nation’s economy once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.”
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation or FAST Act will expire in six months, and AASHTO would like to see a clear pathway established for renewing federal funding.
“These actions to shore up our nation’s highway, transit, passenger rail, and water transportation systems will send a bold signal to raise consumer and investor confidence and expectations for economic recovery, while strengthening our national transportation system for decades to come,” the organization said in its letter.