Wed April 30, 2014
Utah Could Face $407 Million Shortfall In Federal Transportation Funding
Utah stands to lose more than $400 million dollars in transportation funding if Congress can’t come to an agreement later this year.
Utah would lose 20 percent of its transportation budget if Congress allows the Highway Trust Fund to go dry, which it is predicted to do this summer.
In a report released by the non-partisan group Transportation for America, state and local governments would lose out on $47 billion in transportation funding nationwide.
This means Utah would lose out on nearly $407 million.
Utah Department of Transportation spokesperson John Gleason says Utah is in a good position because just more than 20 percent of the state’s transportation budget is federal money. Most road projects in Utah use state funds.
"Those (projects) would be covered primarily through state funding," Gleason said. "It would be mainly preservation, not as high-profile projects that would be affected."
According to Transportation for America, the funding shortfall for the Highway Trust Fund is due to lower-than-expected revenue from a gas tax that has not changed since 1993 while construction costs have continued to rise.
This comes as President Obama introduces a new transportation bill to Congress worth $304 billion.
Gleason says UDOT is optimistic.
"We're pretty optimistic that Congress is going to reach some type of a decision that will solve the problem before it affects or delays any of our projects," he said.
-Eric Jungblut is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism at Utah State University.