Pennsylvania, Utah Can Deal with Transportation Cuts
State and local lawmakers have been in crisis mode recently, as D.C. politicians try to figure out how to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent. But folks in Utah and Pennsylvania have a much less frenzied outlook than their counterparts in other states.
In Utah, federal funds make up only 20 percent of their total transportation budget. That’s why John Gleason, spokesman for the Utah Department of Transportation, says his state is better equipped than others to cope with cuts in federal funds.
In Pennsylvania, PennDOT spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick said, “We’re in a position where we don’t have to alter our plans; we can weather this immediate crisis.”
Pennsylvania state lawmakers passed a bill in 2013 to generate an additional $2.3 billion annually for transportation within five years. Of the $6 billion the state spends a year on transportation, $1.5 billion comes from the federal government.
Still, CQ.com reports (sub. req’d), “A coalition of associations representing state governors, mayors and county leaders sent congressional leaders a letter urging lawmakers “to ensure the continued solvency of the Highway Trust Fund.”
They may be overreacting. As we pointed out last week, a 7 percent reduction in total transportation spending by states is not a crisis.