Industry groups covering every segment of infrastructure have issued a letter to Congress urging them to provide immediate funding to close a $756 billion “investment gap” in the nation’s surface transportation system. Eighteen groups including the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) and more all signed the letter to Congressional leaders.
The $756 billion investment “backlog” figure cited by AASHTO in the joint letter is based on the methodology used in Status of the Nation’s Highways, Bridges, and Transit: Conditions & Performance Report, 23rd Edition published by the US Department of Transportation – a backlog composed of system rehabilitation, enhancement, and capacity needs for highways and bridges.
In order to achieve this ambitious goal, the groups requested that Congress authorize $200 billion in highway and bridge stimulus or “down payment” in the infrastructure package, available to be obligated through 2026 at 100 percent federal share.
"We also ask that you to provide $487 billion for the Federal-aid Highway Program as part of the upcoming five-year surface transportation reauthorization due by October 1. If these robust investments are paired with $846 billion in the subsequent five year reauthorization from 2027 to 2031, we as a nation can finally tackle the ever-looming highway and bridge backlog once and for all."
Congress was also asked to use existing highway and transit formulas and existing rail grant programs to provide those requested funds, as long-standing formula funding methodology – used to disburse Highway Trust Fund revenues to the states – provide fiscal support “in the quickest and most efficient manner, all the while flowing to every part of the country.”
The letter noted that with a five-year obligation time those infrastructure package investments should be able to support programs and projects that generate the most benefits through the entire lifecycle of assets – ranging from routine improvements that can provide immediate economic stimulus to major improvements that can substantially transform the network.
"As you consider the design of the infrastructure package for surface transportation, we ask that funds be provided through existing highway and transit formulas as they provide economic recovery funding in the quickest and most efficient manner, all the while flowing to every part of the country," the letter said. "With a five-year obligation time, the infrastructure package investments should be able to support programs and projects that generate the most benefits through the entire lifecycle of assets—ranging from routine improvements that can provide immediate economic stimulus to major improvements that can substantially transform the network. Lastly, we ask that infrastructure package funding should be provided at 100 percent federal share in order to recognize the ongoing revenue losses being experienced by state DOTs and transit agencies due to Covid."