Federal Funding Could Aid Arizona Highways And Roads

February 27, 2014

President Obama is asking Congress to fund $300 billion for highway and road development throughout the country.

The Arizona Department of Transportation relies heavily on the federal Highway Trust Fund, which pulls in revenue through gas and vehicle license taxes, but that fund is nearing insolvency, which means there is less money to offer states.

ADOT spokesperson Laura Douglas said the president’s proposal for transportation infrastructure would help.

“The department as a whole has had to move more toward a preservation based program to really preserve and protect our existing infrastructure,” said Douglas. “And that’s what we’re seeing more of over the next five years and potentially beyond that.”

ADOT cut its five-year plan by $350 million when the department realized it could not pay for everything it had planned for. Douglas said that means more transportation projects outside metropolitan areas will not be fully funded.

Douglas said governments need to be focusing on long-term transportation solutions rather than short-term fixes.

ADOT advocates that states have the power to decide how they use money for their own transportation networks instead of it being decided by the federal government, said Douglas. She said they would prefer receiving a lump sum from the federal government for Arizona transportation needs so ADOT can decide how the money can be used for its own projects.

“We have a lot of needs throughout the state, and anything to help increase revenue overall for transportation is good,” said Douglas. “Something we want to see is more long-term fixes when it comes to transportation funding, and we’d also like to see more flexibility in transportation spending.”

President Obama’s plan calls for a business tax overhaul to pay for a transportation infrastructure measure that he hopes Congress will pass by September.