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AASHTO Seeks Funding for COVID-19 Shortfalls

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

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The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials recently inked a letter to Congressional leaders seeking support for the creation of a fiscal “backstop” for the transportation sector.

The request comes as a result of the economic impact experienced from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

About the Letter

In the letter, AASHTO urges Congress to grant an immediate and temporary waiver for federal truck weight restrictions, giving states maximum flexibility and discretion to manage interstate transportation of emergency supplies in combatting against COVID-19.

Officials have also requested $16.7 billion in supplemental federal transportation funding to backstop expected state revenue shortfalls.

LeoPatrizi / Getty Images

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials recently inked a letter to Congressional leaders seeking support for the creation of a fiscal “backstop” for the transportation sector.

"The National Association of State Budget Officers estimated that states collected $111 billion in highway-related revenues including motor fuel taxes in FY 2019," the letter reads.

"Our initial projection estimates up to a 10% decline in highway-related revenues for FY 2020 and FY 2021. Therefore we request $16.7 billion in federal funding support to state DOTs through the Federal-aid Highway formula program at 100% federal share. This additional funding will allow states to continue to address their critical transportation needs while also allowing state resources to be directed to the most immediate public health needs to minimize the impact of COVID-19."

To take further measure, AASHTO is also requesting that transportation investments “double down” so that highway and transit investment backlog can be reduced, and long-term economic recovery can be enabled.

“In the near term, all modes of transportation—air, highway, transit, rail, and water—are anticipated to face steep declines in user fee and tax revenues due to COVID-19. These revenues are critical for states to maintain the transportation systems that enable the movement of critical goods and personnel to meet the needs of all Americans during this time of crisis.”

In addition to all the reported measures, the association goes a step further, requesting that operational community and investment in America’s State-supported passenger rail networks (Amtrak) are also supported during this pandemic. Already, ASSHTO reports that it is supporting Amtrak’s emergency request for $978 million, which includes $200 million to help offset losses on state-supported routes.

The letter was issued to the United States House of Representatives Speaker, Nancy Pelosi; Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell; Republican Leader, Kevin McCarthy; and Democratic Leader, Charles E. Schumer on March 18.

Other Association Reactions

Not the only ones to ink letters regarding the ongoing pandemic, earlier this month, the American Institute of Architects 2020 President Jane Frederick, FAIA, and EVP/CEO Robert Ivy, FAIA, released a letter to Congress outlining a proposed infrastructure investment and addressing what it views as critical needs from small business owners.

CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, spoke out against outright shutdowns of construction in a statement saying that shutting down construction projects is an unnecessary step.

“Halting construction activity will do more harm than good for construction workers, community residents and the economy,” he said. “Construction firms are already acting to ensure the safety and health of their employees in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. These new measures, which include increased hygiene and halting group gatherings of staff, are in addition to the fact construction workers already wear protective equipment, including gloves that will help protect them and their co-workers."

The National Roofing Contractors Association wrote a letter this month as well, this time to President Donald Trump, to express concerns over what are defined as “essential businesses” and “essential workers” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

View all of PaintSquare Daily News' coverage on COVID-19, here.

   

Tagged categories: AASHTO; Airports; Department of Transportation (DOT); Funding; Government; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Rail; Roads/Highways; Ships and vessels; Transportation

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