Potential $7.6 billion rescission of infrastructure funding is a major concern

A repeal of the $7.6 billion rescission included in the current U.S. surface transportation law, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, could be spell big trouble for the already fragile state of U.S. transportation infrastructure.

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Right when you think the state of United States transportation infrastructure could not be in a deeper pothole (pardon the pun), things continue to remain on a long and winding….and crumbling road.

But I am not speaking specifically about the dire state of transportation infrastructure itself, in the form of things like badly needed fixes for highways, interstates, bridges, ports, and many other things. Instead, it is more separate, but clearly related, as it relates to the financial side of things.

And I am also not referring to the recent meeting between President Trump and House Majority Leader Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Schumer, in which they agreed to pursue an ambitious and sorely needed huge package on infrastructure improvements that supporters say is “big and bold” and amount to as much as $2 trillion in new spending (stay tuned on how that will be funded…).

Instead, the focus for this column comes from a recent release from the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Committee leadership, the release noted, penned a letter in which they requested two of its key priorities be included in “any upcoming budget agreement.”

One was a request for a “mechanism to ensure full utilization of annual Harbor Maintenance Tax collections for harbor maintenance and access to the remaining balance in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund be included in the budget agreement,” which LM reported on earlier this week.

But the other one, which is germane to this column, focused on the request of a repeal of the $7.6 billion rescission included in the current U.S. surface transportation law, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. House T&I Committee leadership noted that the rescission, were it to take effect, would result in highway funding provided by Congress, as per the FAST Act, would be taken back, and subsequently negatively impact all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The rescission would take place during Fiscal Year 2020 and take effect on July 1, 2020, .

“[T]he rescission will significantly limit the flexibility of all states and impact the ability to plan and execute highway and bridge projects,” the letter stated. “These projects are necessary in order to grow the U.S. economy, create jobs, and ensure the Nation’s global competitiveness.  We therefore request that the rescission be repealed as part of any budget agreement.”

This letter is clear and succinct, and perhaps most importantly, it serves as what stands for, at least these days, a clear sign of bipartisanship, which can only be viewed as a positive during these politically dysfunctional times.

Like the letter says, should this rescission take effect, it will make the rocky state of U.S. transportation infrastructure even worse than it already is. And let’s be honest, regardless which side of the political aisle you are on, that would truly be untenable, given the financial shortfalls and realities things already are in.

About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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