$48.8 billion in highway funds now available to states

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced recently that $48.8 billion in highway funds is now available to state departments of transportation for federal projects through the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act.

“With spring and summer highway construction seasons just beginning, these funds will help make it easier for states to put people back to work and begin long-term projects,” said Secretary LaHood.

The HIRE Act, which was signed into law in March, included a provision that extended funding authority for surface transportation programs through December 31, 2010. The law provides $40.1 billion from the Highway Trust Fund for highway programs for fiscal year 2010.

In addition, the HIRE Act restores $8.7 billion to state DOTs that was rescinded last year due to a provision in the “Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users” (SAFETEA-LU), surface transportation program authorizing legislation enacted in 2005.

SAFETEA-LU expired September 30, 2009, and since then, Congress has passed a series of small, short-term funding extensions based on SAFETEA-LU.

The provision included in the HIRE Act that extended highway programs through the end of this year now allows the Administration time to work with Congress on a more comprehensive, long-term authorization proposal.