Today, as we've been doing each month since January, the Department of Transportation updated our Highway Trust Fund tickers. The tickers are charts showing how much money we have left to spend on roads, bridges, and transit --and how quickly it is running out.
If you've been reading the Fast Lane this spring, you know that our budget analysts have projected a shortfall in the Highway Account before we reach the end of this fiscal year. So far, all of their monthly predictions have been on target, and this month was no different. Unfortunately, that accuracy is not good news, because it means we're still expecting a shortfall as early as August.
What does a shortfall mean? It means we could start bouncing checks for roadwork before our kids go back to school. It means we'll have to delay funding your state's efforts to maintain and improve the roadways near you.
From Bangor, Maine, to Bakersfield, California, and Key West to Ketchikan, highway work may be postponed.
If you work in road construction or maintenance, the situation is worse than unrepaired pavement or road projects that aren't moving forward--it means jobs in jeopardy. In fact, several states are already postponing road contracts because they cannot count on a reliable funding source.
That's why, two months ago, I sent Congress our GROW AMERICA legislative proposal, which outlines a way to replenish the trust fund and revitalize our transportation system--without adding to our deficit.
The updated Highway Trust Fund tickers we published today are a reminder that Congress needs to fix the highway trust fund before it runs dry.
In a challenging legislative environment, that doesn't give us a lot of time.