AASHTO campaign stresses need for long-term funding

As Congress considers how to replenish the Highway Trust Fund, the association representing state transportation agency chiefs is launching a multimedia campaign that calls on lawmakers to “think big” and focus on long-term investment needs rather than short-term fixes.

The “Nation at a Crossroads” campaign from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) urges policymakers to consider what is achievable in remaking transportation to aid our quality of life and commerce, rather than patch problem areas with funding levels that are too low to keep pace.

It includes a video, plus a web-based infographic, mobile app and printed materials intended to put a national perspective on surface transportation investments, all available on a campaign website, invest.transportation.org.

“Instead of focusing on crumbling infrastructure, we ask the questions: ‘What if our system could keep up? How much brighter could our future be?” said AASHTO Executive Director Bud Wright. “The reality is that the recent pattern of short-term funding actions hampers states’ ability to even plan for the next construction season.”

The 2015 “Bottom Line Report” by AASHTO and the American Public Transportation Association found that the combined efforts of federal, state and local governments in both highway and transit spending are well below the investment levels needed to maintain current facilities and keep pace with rising population and freight traffic.

The federal surface transportation authorization is scheduled to expire in May. The Highway Trust Fund is expected to run out of money again this summer.

The campaign website also features a “state impact” section that provides state-level information that shows how federal funding affects transportation investment priorities.