By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA
The two main accounts of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) are teetering ever-closer to the financial brink, forcing the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to prepare emergency cash management procedures that could further slow or halt state level transportation infrastructure work.
The HTF’s Highway Account, which began the 2015 fiscal year with approximately $9.2 billion in cash, will dip into the red by late August, according to DOT’s July 8 HTF “Ticker” update. The Mass Transit Account, which held $3.5 billion in cash on Oct. 1, 2014, will fall to $200 million by the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year.
“If the Department implements cash management procedures, reimbursements to states for infrastructure work will be limited to the available cash in the Trust Fund,” DOT said in the release. “Additionally, the Department would distribute incoming funds in proportion to each state’s federal formula apportionment in the fiscal year.”
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said he will be sending a letter to state DOTs next week with more details about the situation. His warning comes as Congress faces the July 31 expiration to the latest short-term extension of highway and transit spending authorization.