Draft federal transportation funding bill is good start
Draft legislation released by a U.S. Senate committee earlier this week is a good start towards reauthorization of federal transportation funding, according to WYDOT Director John Cox.
The legislation, titled MAP-21 Reauthorization Act, was issued Monday by the Senate's Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming is a leading member of the committee and a co-sponsor of the bill.
"We've been busy reviewing the details of the bill, but are pleased that Sen. Barrasso and his peers have made progress on the transportation funding issue," Cox said. "The highway funding formula would be maintained in an equitable manner, and that continuity is crucial to primarily rural states such as Wyoming.”
The current MAP-21 legislation will expire at the end of September, conceivably resulting in a disruption of federal aid to the states if some sort of reauthorization or continuing resolution is not in place by then. Also on the horizon is a looming shortfall in the federal Highway Trust Fund, which as early as this summer could result in a slowdown in federal funds available to the states.
"We commend the EPW Committee and its leadership for its bipartisan approach to the need for a long-term, multi-year investment in transportation infrastructure," said Bud Wright, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. "The nature of the projects and programs that state departments of transportation oversee requires a long-term view in order to ensure the best investment of federal, state and local tax dollars."
"WYDOT looks forward to working closely with Sen. Barrasso and the other members of the Wyoming delegation to complete the process of reauthorization," Cox added. "We're grateful for their interest in preserving the elements of the MAP-21 framework that serve our transportation needs by maintaining funding levels, allowing for sensible regulatory reform, and addressing national priorities and issues."