Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam leads national discussion on roads funding

ralph northamWith the Highway Trust Fund projected to become insolvent this year, the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution, cosponsored by Lt. Gov. Phil Scott (R-Vt.) and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.), calling on Congress to “develop a shared, long term vision for surface transportation.”

“It is clear to me and my colleague members of the NLGA that national transportation funding is in crisis,” Lt. Gov. Northam said. “It is urgent that we allocate resources to the Highway Trust Fund in the near term, but we must also think critically about long term funding for our nation’s infrastructure needs.”

Lieutenant governors engaged in a conversation on transportation funding at the NLGA Federal-State Relations Meeting in Washington, D.C., thru a panel entitled: “How Will States Fund Road Projects – Starting this Summer?” Since federal law says the Highway Trust Fund cannot run a negative balance, it’s reported that the U.S. Department of Transportation will likely begin taking special actions this summer, including substantially delaying payments to states or paying a significantly reduced share.

Without adequate funding the deterioration of roads, bridges and other systems will affect every Virginian’s quality of life and have a negative impact on safety, tourism and business in general.

Testimony offered at NLGA by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials indicates that unless Congress either increases Highway Trust Fund revenues or provides additional General Fund support, states will not be able to commit virtually any new federal funds to surface transportation projects starting next fiscal year. This could result in states delaying much-needed projects this coming construction season due to the long term funding needs of larger, ongoing projects.

“Last year Virginia’s lawmakers came together to pass a comprehensive, bipartisan transportation package which seriously addressed the Commonwealth’s responsibilities with regard to safe roads and highways,” Northam said. “It is now time for our counterparts at the federal level to do the same. It is our hope that this resolution will send a clear message to Congress that this issue needs their attention as soon as possible.”


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