Members of Congress are likely to go home and campaign for reelection without giving state Departments of Transportation the stability and ability to plan for infrastructure investments that were promised in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, according to the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA).
Government funding is set to expire on Sept. 30 and there is no final action on the 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill planned as of now. Congress seems likely to consider a continuing resolution that would keep federal programs at their 2016 levels and keep the government open. In fact, Congress is withholding $1 billion of new transportation funding promised as part of the FAST Act. As a result, states will only be left with existing funding levels to support transportation projects.
“Year after year Congress does the politically expedient thing rather than properly supporting the nation’s transportation infrastructure. Delaying increases in funding result in fewer jobs created and more uncertainty at a time when economic investment in our communities is needed more than ever,” stated Michael W. Johnson, NSSGA president and CEO.
“Although the total amount being withheld is relatively small, the symbolism is important. It’s more evidence of the need for Congress to do its job on time, every year and pass appropriations bills. NSSGA will continue to keep the pressure on Congress to do their job, which is not just getting reelected.”
States are still expected to receive authorized increases from the FAST Act, but will only do so after Congress passes an entire fiscal 2017 funding package, which would not likely occur until after the November elections. Yet, there is still time to urge Congress to properly fund transportation projects before the Sept. 30 deadline.
“NSSGA strongly urges the aggregates industry to contact their members of Congress. We need our elected officials to actually do their job before they ask to keep their job,” Johnson said.