U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters announced emergency measures on Friday aimed at shoring up cash flow problems with the Federal Highway Trust Fund.
Among the changes, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will begin making weekly reimbursements to the states rather than twice daily. More importantly, the reimbursements will be prorated so that, as an example, if there are funds sufficient to cover only 80 percent of the requests received, the federal government will only reimburse 80 percent of each request.
Current projections show that the Federal Highway Trust Fund may be as much as $8 billion in the red at the end of the year, thanks to sagging fuel purchases associated with high gas prices.
The FHWA indicated that because of the “dire consequences” of the current cash shortfall, the Bush administration will urge that Congress immediately pass the House-passed Rangel bill (H.R. 6352) to transfer some $8 billion from the General Fund to the Highway Trust Fund. Congress had attempted to move similar legislation before the August recess, and is expected to rekindle those efforts when members return next week.
MITA has been actively involved in the federal push this summer, strongly urging Michigan’s delegation to support the $8 billion bailout. Friday’s announcement of support from the President is a welcome change in policy and is expected to give a significant boost to the effort. MITA is hoping to see Congress approve the bailout measure in the next two weeks.
If you have any questions please contact Mike Nystrom, Vice President of Government and Public Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org; or Keith Ledbetter, Director of Legislative Affairs at email@example.com; or by calling the MITA office at (517) 347-8336.