Speaking to an industry luncheon in Washington last week, Federal Highway Administrator Rick Capka outlined the administration's budget efforts to bolster the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund and invest in congestion relief.
Capka told the Road Gang that the delay in enactment of the FY 2007 appropriations bill had coincided with the release of the FY 2008 budget, resulting in an "unusual budget cycle." But he made clear that if there is no action by Congress this week to complete the spending bill, "we will be turning the lights out."
Alluding to the Highway Trust Fund crisis and the projected $230 million deficit in FY 2009, he said, "We knew we had to do something to address these issues on the Trust Fund." What the administration has proposed is the suspension of the RABA provision for FY 2008, estimated to be some $630 million, plus another $1.4 billion in rescissions of apportionments, some dating back to the ISTEA authorizing law.
Capka emphasized the high priority placed on the U.S. DOT's Congestion Initiative, saying that action is needed now to address the impacts of our nation's clogged highways. "We need to recalibrate our thinking there," he said, adding that the proposed $175 million for that "is going to be a wise investment."