As Highway Bill Deadline Looms, All Eyes on D.C.

Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, TX - As the Sept. 30th Congressional deadline approaches for renewing the nation's Surface Transportation Bill, state officials from throughout Texas and across the country will have their eyes on Washington, D.C. If new legislation is not passed before the deadline, federal funding for highway construction and repair will be curtailed. And the number of construction jobs at stake nationwide will pale in comparison to the 70,000 airport construction workers who were temporarily out of work in a similar situation recently with the Federal Aviation Administration.

The two transportation bills under consideration in Congress are polar opposites.

  • One would make federal funding cuts of $14.1 billion and would likely cost 490,000 highway construction workers their jobs.
  • The other would maintain current levels of spending for the next two years if the bill sponsor can find $12 billion in other cuts in the federal budget.

Facing a shrinking pool of federal and state dollars, government entities already are exploring other avenues to fund infrastructure projects. They are taking advantage of an array of innovative financing options. Public-private partnerships (P3s), which have long been used - and used successfully - are becoming more popular.

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