Another Case for Highway Spending Turnback

In February, we wrote about local transportation officials across the country lamenting the stalled highway bill and the prospects for yet another short-term extension. For local officials, constantly looking to Washington to know how much transportation money they will receive is not only exhausting, but highly impractical. Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, points out:

“‘We need to put people back to work,’ Malloy said. ‘[States] are required to plan ahead. We need a federal surface transportation bill with a time horizon of more than one or three or six months.’”

Governor Malloy has it partially right; states need certainty. They are not only required to plan ahead, they are also required to budget, and when they’re forced to rely on Congress to provide part of their budget, planning ahead becomes impossible.

Where the governor has it wrong is on the need for another “federal surface transportation bill.”  Instead, as we’ve said many times before, states should be allowed to keep their own transportation funds, rather than first turning them over to the federal government and hoping they receive what was taken from their state in a timely and efficient manner.

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