The Highway Materials Group (HMG)—which represents 11 national trade associations whose members provide the materials and equipment for the nation's transportation infrastructure—last week sent a letter to Congress urging legislators to provide funding to offset the significant revenue shortfalls facing state DOT budgets due to shutdowns in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The HMG—which includes associations such as the American Concrete Pavement Association, the American Traffic Safety Services Association, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, and the National Asphalt Pavement Association, among others—expressed support to grant nearly $50 billion to meet the needs of state DOTs across the country as the pandemic takes a toll on transportation revenue sources, including fuel taxes, tolling, and other user fees.
"State and local governments who are on the front lines of fighting the virus, delivering benefits and providing critical emergency services, are facing daunting budget shortfalls," the letter reads. "Without Congressional action, state DOT budgets will be severely limited in allocating much-needed investments to improve their infrastructure, resulting in further job loss and economic decline."
Earlier last week, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) sent its own letter to Congress urging similar action to shore up transportation revenue loss, while noting that preliminary projections estimate at least a 30% decline in transportation revenues on average for the next 18 months. HMG noted in its letter that funding is necessary in order to prevent major disruptions in the ability of state DOTs to operate and maintain their transportation systems during this national emergency.
HMG's letter expresses appreciation to Congress for establishing the Coronavirus Relief Fund in the recently passed CARES Act, which provides billions in needed relief to state and local governments.
"As you work on further relief measures, we strongly urge you to continue to provide needed appropriations into this important fund that reimburses state and local governments that are caring for the sick and helping those facing economic uncertainty," the letter says.
SOURCE: Highway Materials Group