DOT Secretary Outlines Infrastructure Priorities; Funding Options

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx officially outlined his top priorities for the Department of Transportation, highlighting America’s infrastructure deficit and identifying ways for the Department to use innovation and improved planning to stretch transportation dollars further. Foxx said he sees signs the nation may finally be ready to tackle its "infrastructure deficit."

While speaking at the Transportation Research Board’s Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., Foxx said one-third of all major roads are in “poor or mediocre condition" and there are "100,000 bridges old enough for Medicare." However, he said he is optimistic about the future of the nation's infrastructure.

Some members of Congress are beginning to talk about specific proposals to fund federal Highway Trust Fund, which is going broke, Foxx said. Several solutions are on the table, including increasing the federal gas tax, on which the trust fund has relied for decades; shifting the tax burden to wholesale fuel at the refinery; and allowing U.S. corporations that have stockpiled billions of dollars abroad to bring the money home at a reduced tax rate, with that revenue going to rebuilding U.S. infrastructure.

With the Highway Trust Fund set to run out of money as early as August, Foxx said that DOT will begin posting monthly updates on exactly how much money the Highway Trust Fund has left on its website. While the Department has long provided this figure to Capitol Hill, Foxx said providing it to the public would increase transparency and accountability.  

During his speech, Foxx encouraged representatives from various modes of transportation to work together rather than acting as individual silos. “We need a plan that takes our roads and rails and ports and links them together,” he said. “Linking them together remakes the finest, most elaborate system of transportation that the world has ever known into its 21st century incarnation.”

Mindy Long's photo

Mindy Long

Before launching a full-time freelance career, Long edited NATSO's Stop Watch magazine. Prior to that Long worked as a staff reporter for Transport Topics, a weekly trade newspaper, covering freight transportation, fuel and environmental issues. In addition to covering the transportation sector, Long has written, reported and edited for a variety of media outlets. She was the Washington correspondent for WCAX-TV (CBS) in Burlington, Vt., a criminal court reporter in Chicago and a freelance copy editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in Washington D.C. Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.More
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