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Letter Calls on Congress to Make ‘Turn-Key’ Transportation Deal

On Sept. 9, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) along with 87 other organizations co-signed a letter to Congressional leadership calling for a one-year “turn-key” extension of current surface transportation funding legislation with the addition of emergency funding for state departments of transportation and public transit agencies.

“Public agencies continue to face COVID-19 pandemic-induced revenue declines,” the groups said in the letter. “As a result, state and local entities already delayed or cancelled $8 billion in surface transportation projects, with more on the horizon absent any clear sign of support from the federal government.”

Jim Tymon, AASHTO’s executive director, added that a one-year extension of current surface transportation funding legislation – known as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation or FAST Act, which expires on Sept. 30 – must happen in order to give state DOTs the certainty needed for planning, letting, and building projects through the 2021 construction season.

“Ideally, if this extension can be provided with increased funding, our industry will be able to employ more Americans in the construction sector which, in turn, will bolster market certainty for the transportation industry in 2021; making businesses more likely to hire workers while investing in new equipment and technologies,” he said. “With a clean FAST Act policy extension, we can avoid the inclusion of new policies and programs that can delay timely distribution of federal funding. Congress absolutely has to get this done by the end of the month.”