WASHINGTON — With only two weeks remaining until Congress adjourns for the summer, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and the 11 secretaries of transportation before him urged Congress to pass a bill to boost the Highway Trust Fund before that account runs out of money next month.
The secretaries also expressed their frustration with Congress’ inability to pass a long-term highway funding bill, saying: “Never in our nation's history has America's transportation system been on a more unsustainable course.”
“While we — the twelve transportation secretaries — may differ on the details of these proposals, there is one essential goal with which all twelve of us agree: We cannot continue funding our transportation with measures that are short-term and short of the funding we need,” the secretaries wrote in a letter Foxx mentioned at the National Press Club on July 21.
OPEN LETTER: Full text.
Foxx acknowledged the short-term funding proposal before the Senate is badly needed, but he emphasized that the transportation system “depends on certainty and while there is a patch potentially that Congress passes, that’s not going to really help the certainty issue.”
“With a 10-month patch, you don’t know what’s on the other end of that 10 months. That’s the problem we have,” Foxx added.
Last week, 62 major transportation and nonprofit organizations pressed lawmakers to approve a multiyear transportation bill.
The Senate returns this week to attempt to clear a few procedural hurdles in order to advance either a House Republican bill that approves nearly $11 billion to shore up the fund through the end of May, or a similar Senate bill.
Foxx said that an insolvent trust fund would require DOT to scale back reimbursements, which could prompt states to halt road construction projects this summer. The trust fund is used to reimburse states for large-scale road projects. DOT estimates the account will become insolvent as early as next month.