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S&P Report: Transportation Infrastructure Needs Long-Term Funding

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said MAP-21 is fine, but the U.S. must do more to repair its ailing infrastructure. “We believe [Map-21 does not] represent the sort of long-term solutions that the problem requires,” said Standard & Poor's Credit Analyst Geoff Buswick in a report, entitled “A Short-Term Approach To Funding Leaves U.S. Transportation Infrastructure Without A Solid Long-Term Plan.”

“Simply put, it seems to us that no one in Washington wants to pass a long-term bill while the U.S. economy continues its struggle to recover from the Great Recession, or while it faces the prospect of more bad economic conditions ahead,” Buswick added.

The report states that substantial uncertainty with regard to funding will remain until Congress undertakes a meaningful tax-reform debate ­– or implements a targeted transportation policy. “Furthermore, we expect that funding bills, which have historically spanned five-plus years, will continue to come as short-term measures (we do not believe current plans are sufficient to address the problem) for the foreseeable future, which complicates states' ability to make solid capital-spending plans,” according to the report.

“Governments will continue issuing debt to fund these programs, but as the federal government pares back its spending, we believe more of the burden will fall to local governments, which might not be able to complete the necessary work without greater federal assistance,” Buswick said.