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The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) are asking Congress for an immediate emergency injection of nearly $50 billion to offset an estimated 30 percent loss in state transportation revenue over the next 18 months.
AASHTO leaders asked in an April 6 letter to congressional leaders that the next emergency relief and economic recovery legislation include an immediate $49.95 billion in flexible federal funding to help ensure state departments of transportation (DOTs) "can operate and maintain their systems without disruption and allow current transportation projects and plans to continue."
In addition, AASHTO leaders asked that Congress look to pass a major surface and water transportation reauthorization bill in order to boost a long economic recovery that will be necessary once the COVID-19 crisis subsides.
"These actions to shore up our nation's highway, transit, passenger rail and water transportation systems will send a bold signal to raise consumer and investor confidence and expectations for economic recovery, while strengthening our national transportation system for decades to come," the letter stated.
The $49.95 billion in federal backstop funding would be distributed to state DOTs in the form of $16.7 billion for the remainder of fiscal-year 2020 and $33.3 billion for all of FY2021, AASHTO leaders suggested.
They also requested that the funds be treated as state revenue, that operations and maintenance activities be fully eligible for the funds and that they be provided at a 100 percent federal share.