Federal highway funding is running low. Nothing new there. The Indiana Chamber, and many others, have called for long-term solutions from Washington instead of short-term fixes that simply extend the uncertainty.
How are states reacting to the current dilemma. According to the Kiplinger Letter:
- Arkansas, Georgia, Wyoming and Tennessee have postponed 440 projects totaling more than $1.3 billion
- Iowa, South Dakota and Utah have increased gas taxes. Others that may follow include Georgia, Idaho, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Carolina
- Seeking funds from advertisers: Virginia sells space on highway rest stop signs to GEICO; Travelers Marketing sponsors highway patrols in Massachusetts
- Partnering with private investors: Florida is seeking private funds to rebuild portions of Interstate 4; New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia are seeking similar ventures
Kiplinger editors add:
But states can only do so much on their own. Ultimately, Congress must act. Odds favor another temporary fix this fall. A long-term solution will likely wait until 2017. Congress and a new president will have a fresh opportunity to tackle broad tax reform, including a possible hike in federal fuel taxes, which no longer approach what’s needed to pay for highway work.
Not what many want to hear in terms of the time frame.