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Summer 2008 | Vol. 10 | No. 4
AASHTO Reports Trust Fund Shortage Could Cost 380,000 Jobs
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) estimates 380,000 jobs and hundreds of construction projects are in jeopardy across the nation if Congress does not fix a 3.3 billion dollar deficit in the Highway Trust Fund.
The House and Senate recently dropped a provision from a threemonth aviation tax extension bill that would have provided $8 billion to keep the nation's transportation account solvent.
AASHTO Executive Director John Horsley expressed his strong disappointment, saying, "If members of Congress believe that this failure has no consequences, they are wrong."
Subsequent to the AASHTO statement, the Senate Appropriations Committee enacted S. 3261, the FY 2009 appropriations bill for Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD). The THUD bill contains an $8.017 bill transfer from the General Fund to the Highway Trust Fund- potentially enough to cover the Trust Fund deficit for FY 2009. Legislation was then introduced in the House to making a similar sized transfer from General Fund to the Trust Fund. It is hoped that these provisions will be included in the final FY 2009 omnibus spending bill or Continuing Resolution.
If Congress does not address the shortfall, the federal-aid highway program will be reduced by between $13.5 and $20 billion. This is of particular concern to GHSA members, as the funding for the federal behavioral safety grant funds comes from this source. GHSA and AASHTO will continue to monitor this serious situation and urge Congress to take action.