U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Illinois) recently introduced the Highway Relief Act, which the Congressman says enables the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to fund up to 100% of federally funded highway projects in FY 2021 and 2022, waiving the state and local share of these projects.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put great financial strain on state government budgets, including state departments of transportation,” Rep. Davis said in a statement. “My legislation will protect and create new construction jobs and provide a much-needed cash infusion to ensure state highway projects continue as planned. This is just one of many ways the federal government can assist state DOTs. I’d like to thank Congressional leaders for including a one-year extension of surface transportation reauthorization in the CR, but as we negotiate and debate another comprehensive COVID-19 relief package, we must absolutely include additional relief for state DOTs so we can continue to make investments in our nation’s infrastructure.”
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact state DOT budgets as vehicle miles travelled are down, resulting in less motor fuel tax revenue. When state revenues are down, the state’s ability to make their state match to federally funded projects could be jeopardized, according to the Congressman's office.
To ensure continued state transportation project implementation, this bill would provide the U.S. Secretary of Transportation discretionary authority to increase the federal cost share for federal-aid highway projects to 100 percent, for FY21-22. This authority will assist state DOTs to continue their transportation programming while preserving and increasing jobs. Specifically, this bill provides the Secretary of Transportation discretionary authority to increase the federal cost-share of projects to 100% for federal-aid highway projects for FY21-22.
American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Executive Director Jim Tymon expressed support for the bill. “While having Congress provide much-needed direct federal funding to state departments of transportation is AASHTO’s top priority in any COVID relief bill, the ability to utilize 100% federal share for transportation projects is a critical policy provision to help manage state transportation revenues hit hard by the pandemic," Tymon said in a statement.
SOURCE: Office of Rep. Rodney Davis