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Young and Pappas Lead Bipartisan Letter to Protect States from Loss of $7.6 billion in Highway Funding

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Washington, November 15, 2019 | comments

Washington, D.C. – Congressmen Don Young (R-AK) and Chris Pappas (D-NH), who both serve on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, led 107 of their colleagues in a letter calling on Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Leader Kevin McCarthy to address the upcoming rescission of $7.6 billion of federal-aid highway contract authority that has been previously provided to states for surface transportation projects.

With the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act provision set to kick in next year, states will lose $7.6 billion in unobligated highway contract authority for transportation and infrastructure projects if Congress does not act. However, due to the long lead time needed to obligate and spend these funds, states will be forced to account for these massive losses long before the effective date of July 1, 2020.

“Americans want to know that their infrastructure is strong, secure, and safe to use. Bolstering critical improvement projects requires the funding certainty that state and federal partnerships have historically provided,” said Congressman Don Young. “Without immediate action, our nation is set to leave billions of dollars set aside for infrastructure on the table. Very frankly, the federal government needs to make good on the promises made to states by Congress. For the sake of our economy, this vital funding must be protected.”

“Federal-state partnerships play a critical role in maintaining and rebuilding our infrastructure, and it is impossible for our states to plan and complete projects while the potential loss of billions of dollars in federal funding looms over them,” said Congressman Pappas. “It is critical that we take immediate action to safeguard the funds that have already been provided to our states so they can move forward with smart investments that will move our economy and our nation forward.”

You can find a signed copy of the letter HERE and the full text below:

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy,

As the first session of the 116th Congress is nearing its end, we will likely be finalizing several important pieces of legislation that will be signed into law. We write to respectfully request that we address the upcoming rescission of $7.6 billion from the last highway bill in one of those bills.

Section 1438 of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act would rescind $7.6 billion in unobligated federal-aid highway contract authority on July 1, 2020.  This provision was included as a budget offset in the last highway bill, although some have characterized it as gimmick, the real-world impacts on states’ budgets are drastic.

According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, states have approximately $7.9 billion in unobligated contract authority.  This rescission will remove nearly all of this authority. Across the board, states will lose precious dollars needed for investment in infrastructure projects. In fact, California will see their contract authority reduced by $280 million and Texas will lose $960 million in contract authority.  Every state will lose millions in contract authority, with 37 states losing over $50 million.

States have already started planning for the next construction season next summer. This provision must be addressed soon to ensure that states have enough time to plan for the coming year without disruption.  Every one of these dollars represent vital jobs and needed investment in our economy and the movement of goods.  These investments will be threatened if we do not act.

We stand ready to work with you to ensure that Congress takes the urgent action that these impending cuts demand.

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