The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials joined with 27 other organizations in calling for the addition of language to omnibus appropriations legislation that would free up American Rescue Plan or ARP funding for transportation purposes.
[Above photo by AASHTO]
That $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, signed into law in March 2021, provided states and localities with $350 billion in relief funds and $10 billion in capital improvement assistance.
However, as of December 31, 2021, over $100 billion of that emergency funding is still unobligated, with those funds lacking the “flexibility” necessary for states and localities to address ongoing transportation needs.
“State and local transportation capital budgets were hit especially hard [by COVID-19], as changes in travel patterns caused user-based revenue sources to dwindle,” those transportation groups argued in a March 2 letter sent to Congressional leadership.
“Many projects were delayed or canceled,” they added. “However, states and localities are capped at using $10 million of their ARP funding for highway, public transit and other surface transportation projects.
The letter noted that S. 3011 and H.R. 5735 would amend the ARP to provide states and localities wider flexibility to use a greater portion of ARP funds for those critical transportation projects.
“We support adding this overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation to the FY 2022 Omnibus Appropriations package,” they said. “Enactment would empower public entities with more options to use ARP resources and enhance economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”