Infrastructure in the News: States Plan Ahead

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With the holidays around the corner and a long-term transportation bill signed into law, this week’s headlines have centered on states’ reactions to the funds they have been granted from the FAST Act.

In New Mexico, the state delegation announced that more than $11.5 million will be available to rebuild infrastructure damaged by severe storms and flooding, including areas impacted by Hurricane Odile in September 2014. While this funding does not come directly from the FAST Act, it is provided through the USDOT Emergency Relief Program.

In West Virginia, the FAST Act will bring in transportation funding over the next five years that will go a long way toward building new roads, repairing existing roads, and fixing dilapidated bridges.

In addition to transportation infrastructure, states are looking forward to federal funds being appropriated for recreational trail development across the US. In Oregon, the Oregon Parks and Recreational Department is inviting public comment on a draft plan for recreational trails.

But there are still reminders that this bill does not fully address our nation’s transportation needs. In Ohio, the bill was met with mixed reactions — relief that there will be some funding but disappointment that there will not be the level of increase needed to address the current backlog of projects. In Tennessee, TDOT has expressed frustration that their transportation needs won’t be done for 51 years, assuming only a 2 percent funding increase and that nothing new is added to what the Department of Transportation already has on its plate. In Massachusetts, local lawmakers and civic leaders were relieved to get enough funding for critical infrastructure projects, but recognizing that they must take further steps to provide for their investment needs.

While the Report Card shows that we still have a funding gap, we are pleased that Congress passed a five-year bill that increased investment.

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