President Bush has signed legislation approved by Congress last week to transfer $8 billion to the Highway Trust Fund. The move allows state departments of transportation to pay their bills and to continue hundreds of millions of dollars of construction projects that had been put on hold after U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters announced that federal-aid payments to the states would be withheld because of a shortage of funds.
AASHTO President Pete K. Rahn said, "The American public trusts us to keep the highways, bridges and transit systems safe and usable. A precipitous shut down of transportation improvements shakes that confidence and negatively impacts our essential partners in the construction industry." "Now hundreds of thousands of construction workers can feel their jobs are secure – for now." Rahn said.
Rahn added, "Restoring the Highway Trust Fund is a short-term solution. It is time to face up to the reality that America must rebuild and renew our aging system if we hope to give our children the same chance at prosperity that we inherited. We should use this breathing room to focus on how we will meet our future transportation needs. We hope the bipartisan cooperation that brought all parties together in this crisis will prevail as we address the challenge just around the corner."
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is the "Voice of Transportation" representing state departments of transportation in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. AASHTO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association serving as a catalyst for excellence in transportation.