Road woes for U.S. coming soon, Texas funding slashed

KETK
News

POSTED: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - 4:41pm

UPDATED: Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 3:00pm

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s highway trust fund and mass transit accounts are running out of money—fast. That poses a problem when it comes to funding for our Texas roads.

The U.S. Department of Transportation funds a big chunk of TXDOT’s budget according to a spokesperson for TXDOT in Austin, 47 percent of the Texas transportation budget comes from federal funds through reimbursements. But, by September of 2015 the USDOT will run out of money to help supply those reimbursements. An estimated 29 percent of those funds will be slashed for Texas.

The entire country is dealing with transportation budget cuts across the board. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s website, a cash management plan will begin August 1, to manage the flow of federal dollars. Under the plan, reimbursements to states for infrastructure work will be limited to the available cash in the highway trust fund account.

TXDOT issued this statement to KETK News Tuesday regarding the funding changes:

“TxDOT is committed to improving safety and mobility for drivers, and as such, the agency is always planning for the future. Thanks to the Texas Legislature, we have a tool that allows us to borrow money on a short-term basis during the continued instability of the federal Highway Trust Fund. TxDOT will continue progress on active projects to keep Texas transportation moving forward. In order to continue to effectively work with our local partners and plan future projects that will improve safety, address congestion and help with our state's economic prosperity, It's imperative Congress enact a long-term solution to the looming federal funding situation.”

TxDOT tells KETK News those ‘tools’ to get the temporary funding will come from loans. In order to ensure that contractors in Texas are paid on a timely basis, Section 49-m, Article III, of the Texas Constitution provides that the legislature may authorize the Texas Transportation Commission to authorize the Texas Department of Transportation to issue notes or borrow money from any source to carry out the functions of the department. The department is currently able to borrow up to $750 million under this option.

From the U.S. Department of Transportation:

As the two graphs below indicate, both the Highway Account and the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund are nearing insolvency. With the Highway Account expected to become insolvent by the end of August, the Department of Transportation will implement a cash management plan beginning August 1 to manage the flow of federal dollars. Under this plan, reimbursements to states for infrastructure work will be limited to the available cash in the Trust Fund. We will distribute incoming funds in proportion to each state’s federal formula apportionment in the fiscal year.
Highway Account

Based on current spending and revenue trends, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund will encounter a shortfall before the end of fiscal year (FY) 2014.

• The Highway Account began FY 2014 with approximately $1.6 billion in cash.
• A $9.7 billion transfer from the General Fund to the Highway Account was processed shortly after the start of the fiscal year ($10.4 billion authorized in MAP-21, reduced by sequestration).
• The cash balance has dropped by nearly $3.8 billion since the General Fund transfer occurred. As of May 30, 2014, the Highway Account cash balance was $8.1 billion.
Mass Transit Account

Based on current spending and revenue trends, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund will have a balance of approximately $1 billion at the end of FY 2014.

• The Mass Transit Account began FY 2014 with approximately $2.5 billion in cash.
• A $2 billion transfer from the General Fund to the Mass Transit Account was processed shortly after the start of the fiscal year ($2.2 billion authorized in MAP-21, reduced by sequestration).
• The cash balance has dropped by nearly $1.7 billion since the General Fund transfer occurred. As of May 30, 2014, the Mass Transit Account cash balance was $2.8 billion.

 

Comments News Comments

If Obama would let the Canadian pipeline project go through (he has been 'reviewing it' for the last several years), then the tax money on that oil would fund highway projects.

But no, Obama won't do that. Ain't good politics, and besides, alot of those illegals will vote Democrat anyway so who needs to spend on highways when they can spend on illegals.

If your talking about the Keystone pipeline pumping tar sands through it then we are better off without it as they are only responsible for building the pipeline, they have no responsibility for spills, leaks, or any other kind of environmental, public, or personal damages. That is up to taxpayers to pay for as it does not fall under the same laws as crude oil does. Most of it is going overseas anyway. They can keep their Keystone pipeline. Your right about the illegals though.

BS deaf...you are one ignorant individual. Where is your proof or a study that reflects your statement?

That's because they spend all the money on toll roads. How many countless millions have they already spent on just the toll road in Tyler? And that's not counting the almost 40 million out of 60 million in stimulus money they got. If they had their way all roads would be toll roads.

Suzukirider1960 I agree with you, why are we spending tax dollars by the billions to build toll roads for a private company to make millions in profits on a road they did not build with their money?
If you took the money from the city of tyler or Smith county and used it to make a profit, you would be put in prison so why are the elected officials of Texas not being investigated by gregg abbott for abuse of tax dollars for private use?

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