Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
2009 Transportation Bill

Could Congress Let States (Start to) Lose $8.7 Billion in Road Money?

The short answer: Maybe.

13MVC-013L_1.JPG(Photo: USGS.gov)

As Congress rushed to give itself one more month to break the House-Senate stalemate over federal transportation policy, one matter was left unattended -- the $8.7 billion in un-obligated highway aid that's scheduled to start evaporating on Thursday unless lawmakers act to correct the matter.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (OK), the senior Republican on the environment committee, issued a frustrated press release today warning that his state would lose 1,350 jobs if the $8.7 billion were not reinserted by the Senate before the 2005 transportation law expires tomorrow night.

But time is running out; although environment committee chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) promised in July that she would prevent the $8.7 billion from being rescinded, that was before House infrastructure committee chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN) secured passage of a short-term transportation law extension that did not address the highway money.

Under House rules that require new spending to be offset, Oberstar's short-term measure would have had to find a way to raise the $8.7 billion in road money -- and instead of tackling that tough question, the bill didn't address it.

Governors and highway officials are lobbying fiercely to prevent the money from being revoked, but a resolution may not come before the Senate takes up the House's one-month transportation stopgap. The U.S. DOT would then have to resort to creative measures to prevent states from canceling projects, with about $1 billion per month potentially on the chopping block, according to the road lobby.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Wednesday’s Headlines

How should we react to public indifference about the danger cars pose to society? Perhaps a sitcom has something to teach us.

July 24, 2024

Opinion: Is Kamala Harris ‘The Climate President We’ve Been Waiting For’?

Kamala Harris fought hard for a better transportation plan in the San Diego region despite big political risks. If elected president, will she do the same for the country?

July 24, 2024

America is Setting Micromobility Records — But That Boom Could Go Bust Without Public Funding

Shared bike and scooter trips soared 20 percent in a single year. So why are so many U.S. systems shutting down — and what will it take to keep the revolution rolling?

July 24, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines Are Running Hard

More political news: Today's top stories delve into Kamala Harris' record on climate change and Republicans' plans for the Trump administration if he returns to power.

July 23, 2024

Disabled NYer’s are Victims of Gov. Hochul’s Congestion Pricing Pause

So many New Yorkers can’t use the closest subway station to their homes because they don't have an elevator. And Gov. Hochul just halted funding for 23 new lifts.

July 23, 2024
See all posts