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NACo Discusses Federal Transportation Funding Crisis, Outlines Key County Priorities in MAP-21 Rewrite

Posted Date: 
March 14, 2014

On March 13, National Association of Counties (NACo) Executive Director Matt Chase participated in a bipartisan roundtable that focused on the pending insolvency of the federal Highway Trust Fund and the expiration of the federal surface transportation bill, MAP-21.  The roundtable was led by U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.).

Chase emphasized that counties play a critical role in the nation’s transportation system. Counties own 45 percent of the nation’s public roads and 39 percent of the nation’s bridge inventory.  Counties are involved in a third of the nation’s transit systems and airports.  Each year, counties invest more than $106 billion in public works and public facilities, including more than $25 billion on roads and bridges through a blend of federal, state and local resources.

“NACo and our county members support a six-year reauthorization bill that provides long-term funding certainty and addresses our growing infrastructure needs,” Chase explained.  “We also want to build on MAP-21 reforms to expedite project delivery, ensure local county officials are involved in the transportation decision-making process, and provide much needed funding for county bridges and roads.”  

Chase noted that county officials are facing major decisions on whether to cancel or delay future transportation construction and maintenance projects with the pending bankruptcy of the federal Highway Trust Fund in the summer of 2014.  “The economic recovery for most counties remains fragile and uneven. Counties rely on a blend of federal, state and local funding and financing to maintain our county transportation assets.  The growing uncertainty at the federal level will most likely result in delayed or cancelled projects, costing more jobs and pain for county governments and private contractors.”

Other NACo priorities include support for innovative funding and financing methods, make safety a priority on all roads and bridges and support public transportation systems of all sizes.

Federal surface transportation programs were most recently reauthorized in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), which was enacted on July 6, 2012.  MAP-21 expires in September 2014. 

Click here to read NACo’s MAP-21 reauthorization fact sheet, and here to read NACo’s MAP-21 reauthorization priorities.

NACo recently released "The Road Ahead: County Transportation Funding and Financing," a study assessing the role of counties in transportation and the challenges and solutions to the funding and financing of their transportation systems. Click here to view this comprehensive report.