Friday, May 28, 2010

Highway Trust Fund Reauthorization – No Time Soon

Despite pressure from influential state and local officials like California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as influential lobbies like the Amalgamated Transit Union and the Transport Workers Union of America, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood predicts there won’t be any action on a full six year reauthorization of the Federal Highway Trust Fund until after the November 2010 midterm elections. Blue Dog Democrat Congressmen and other House fiscal conservatives don’t want to be pushed into voting this session for the tax increases which will be needed to fully fund a $500 billion, six year reauthorization.

As a result, Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd is pushing legislation to create a $2 billion emergency fund to subsidize state and local transit operations until a new Highway Trust Fund bill can be enacted. Without such a measure, local transit agencies all around the country will be facing route and schedule cutbacks and employee layoffs before a new House can be elected in November.
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