A boost in billions

News AASHTO Journal May 15, 2002
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To meet pressing needs of security, safety and congestion relief, state transportation officials are proposing that federal-aid

To meet pressing needs of security, safety and congestion relief, state transportation officials are proposing that federal-aid highway programs be ramped up from $34 billion to $41 billion, and transit programs from $7.5 billion to $10 billion over the next six years in the upcoming reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21).


While a range of revenue options exist to fund the increase, the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is exploring a new concept that could substantially leverage available revenue.


"The 40% increase we saw in TEA-21 has been put to good use," said AASHTO President Brad Mallory, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. "But our economic productivity demands continued improvement in our transportation system. States are proposing an achievable investment increase and also are offering a sensible approach to finding the funding."


To achieve the proposed program levels, AASHTO has advanced the concept of a new federally-chartered Transportation Finance Corp. that would issue bonds to leverage funds collected in the Highway Trust Fund.


"The TFC is a new financing approach that takes the innovative financing strategies of TEA-21 to the next level, enabling all states to benefit from a national initiative," said Executive Director John Horsley.



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