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Highway funding in the US

World Cement,

In the US, the House of Representatives has approved the FY16 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill. The bill reflects an allocation of US$55.3 billion, which is US$1.5 billion up on FY15 (US$25 million up in real terms), but US$9.7 billion below the President’s budget request.

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said: “We face tight budget restrictions, yet this bill provides adequate investments in critical infrastructure and much-relied-upon housing programs.”

In response, NSSGA Sr. Vice President Pam Whitted said that they were pleased that the bull had passed, but that it ‘fails to come anywhere close to meeting the growing needs of the nation’s surface transportation network’.

Some US$40 billion in funding for the bill comes from the Highway Trust Fund, for which a hearing on long-term funding has been scheduled for 17 June. The Highway Trust Fund has so far been extended almost 40 times, with no long-term solution in sight. The House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan announced the hearing, which will explore the feasibility of various ideas, saying: “The roads and bridges that keep our economy moving rely on a highly unsustainable financing system. Solving this challenge for the long term will require us to think big, and I look forward to exploring new ideas to close the shortfall once and for all.”

NSSGA’s Sr. Vice President Pam Whitted commented on the announcement, pointing out that transportation appropriations are futile without the enactment of a new transportation authorisation and increase revenues for the Highway Trust Fund. “What we really need is a serious conversation about how to fix the crisis so we do not keep coming back to the same problem year after year.”


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