Politics
8:48 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Whitehouse Leading Efforts To Keep Federal Highway Trust Afloat

Lawmakers are running out of time to shore up money for the Federal Highway Trust Fund. U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is helping spearhead efforts.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse on the Senate floor.
Credit RIPR FILE

The fund, which provides funding and reimbursements to states for highway repair and maintenance, is set to go insolvent by August 1st. That means Rhode Island’s federal funding for such projects would dip nearly thirty percent. The Environment and Public Works Committee, on which Whitehouse sits passed a proposed 265 billion dollar fix which will help keep the fund afloat for another six years. However the issue has become a largely partisan one, and the Democrat says a short term plan, currently moving through the legislature would not be adequate.

"We should pass a long term bill because a short-term fix makes it hard for state transportation officials to obligate contracts that require long term investments," said Whitehouse.

Currently, Rhode Island receives some $220 million dollars from the federal highway trust, and about a dozen local projects could be delayed if federal reimbursements end.

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