For immediate release: August 1, 2014
Press release by:
Councilmember Riki Hokama
Maui County Council
President, National Association of Counties
Federal transportation bill receives immediate fix; Hokama urges long-term action
WASHINGTON – On July 31, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 5021, the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014, implementing a short-term fix that prevents the Highway Trust Fund from becoming insolvent, Councilmember Riki Hokama announced today.
The bill extends the current authorization law for transit, highway and highway-safety programs and provides approximately $11 billion in revenues to the fund through May, 2015. The program is set to expire on Sept. 30.
Without this bill, which was passed by the House earlier last month and now goes to President Obama for his signature, the federal government would curtail transportation reimbursement payments to counties, Hokama said.
Hokama, president of the National Association of Counties, urged Congress to provide long-term certainty for the nation’s transportation providers. Hokama said counties own and maintain the greatest share of the nation’s roadway miles and are stewards of more than a third of the nation’s transit systems and airports that connect residents, communities and businesses.
“Stopgap measures hinder major transportation investments and jeopardize jobs,” Hokama said. “There is significant need for a long-term reinvestment in America.”
Hokama’s presidential initiative for NACo includes strengthening counties’ ability to deliver transportation and infrastructure services to their communities.
A significant component of the bill is extension of “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century,” or MAP-21, which has provided a total of $105 billion for the development and support of transportation programs for counties nationwide. Without MAP-21, the Highway Trust Fund – the source of money used for many capital improvement projects like pedestrian and bike paths – would be expected to go over a major fiscal cliff and reach possible insolvency in the next year, Hokama said.
“Counties are leaders on a wide range of issues, and I am working to make sure that we are well-prepared and well-represented at the federal level,” Hokama said. “Our top priorities include a six-year reauthorization of MAP-21, and securing a long-term solution for the Highway Trust Fund.
“I call on our Hawaii elected officials in Congress to support and advocate for long-term transportation funding to make sure counties can invest in significant infrastructure for the community,” Hokama said.
# # #