Senate Transportation Chair Senator Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) joined state legislators from both parties across the country, in Washington D.C. to meet with members of Congress, including Senators Amy Klobuchar and Orin Hatch, members of the Obama Administration to urge they prioritize transportation investments on the eve of a major crisis.
The Highway Trust Fund, which accounts for a third of state highway budgets, as well as major transit investments, will be insolvent in August. The major federal program that provides dollars to the states for all surface transportation, known as the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), will expire on October 1, 2014. Without Congressional action to ensure the federal government fulfills its responsibility for dependable funding, dozens of Minnesota transportation and transit projects may well be put on hold. Leadership for the gathering was provided by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
“As our infrastructure ages, the costs to maintain our roads, bridges and highways will only become more expensive for state and local governments. The state and federal transportation partnership isn’t a partnership if one party fails to show up. If the Highway Trust Fund is allowed to go broke in a few weeks, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost, millions of people’s safety will be at risk, and state economies once again will be forced to struggle because of federal inaction,” said Sen. Dibble.
Though members of Congress expressed optimism that they will be able to spur action to provide a short-term, six to nine month fix for crucial federal funds, Sen. Dibble remains concerned that Congress’ lack of a long-term focus on stable and sufficient transportation funding only creates further uncertainty and risk for Minnesota’s transportation projects.
“Reliable transportation funding is vital to the economic security and prosperity of Minnesota and its citizens. We must find a long-term solution to the continued funding shortfalls of the Federal Highway Trust Fund, as well as find long-term solutions for transportation funding at the state level. I am excited about the progress my legislative colleagues and I, along with Governor Dayton, have made on putting together a comprehensive plan to ensure Minnesota’s continued excellence in transportation so we can expand economic opportunity for our citizens,” said Sen. Dibble. “The Obama Administration has developed a compelling proposal, the GROW AMERICA Act. I invite Congress to participate in this important national effort as well.”
For more information on this or any other legislation, contact Sen. Dibble’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-4191.
Other information about stabilizing and modernizing transportation funding and support in Minnesota can be found at http://movemn.org/.