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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Foxx outlines vision for nation's transportation system, unveils 'Trust Fund Ticker'


With the U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Highway Trust Fund set to run out of money as early as August, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced yesterday the department will begin reporting the fund’s balance monthly on its website.

USDOT officials will update the "Highway Trust Fund Ticker" monthly until the fund can sustain itself or runs out. Making the figure public would increase transparency and accountability, Foxx believes.

Based on current spending and revenue trends, the USDOT estimates the trust fund's Highway Account will reach a shortfall and the fund's Mass Transit Account will have a $440 million balance before the end of fiscal-year 2014, according to the ticker.

The secretary announced the ticker as he outlined his vision for the nation's transportation infrastructure in a speech before the Transportation Research Board. He addressed the nation’s infrastructure "deficit" and identified ways for the department to use innovation and improved planning to stretch transportation dollars.

"If we’re going to tackle our backlog of repairing and rebuilding, then there's another part of the equation we have to tackle, too — and that’s cost," Foxx said in a press release.  "But what if we could make that funding equal more projects — and better ones?"

He also called for the development of a national transportation plan that would look at all transportation modes as one interconnected system.
"After all, that's how people experience transportation. It's all integrated. It's all interconnected," Foxx said.

Progress is already being made on that front with the department's development of a "National Freight Plan" that looks all modes.

“But we need to do more," Foxx added. "We need a plan that takes our roads and rails and ports … and links them… and remakes the finest system of transportation the world has ever known into its 21st-century incarnation."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/16/2014