by Sean Kilcarr
Can you imagine a world where fewer federal government dollars are spent on transportation infrastructure? A world where a “less, not more” philosophy rules the political day? Well, based on discussions currently occurring in transportation policy circles, we may be heading toward such a world—and a lot more rapidly than many in trucking might think.
In September, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) and the Eno Center for Transportation published a report, titled “The Consequences of Reduced Federal Transportation Investment,” that attempted to outline the possible consequences of reduced federal surface transportation funding.
“Current fiscal and political realities suggest that federal transportation spending will be stagnant or even declining for many years,” said BPC Visiting Scholar Emil Frankel.
C. Kenneth Orski, a noted public policy consultant, added that proponents of more robust spending ignore the political realities of mounting federal deficits and the shadow of a $16 trillion debt hovering over all fiscal decisions.
Such a cut in funding would fall unevenly on various states, he pointed out, as some states are more dependent on federal funds than others. For example, while 10 states rely on federal funds for less than 25% of their overall transportation spending, 14 states rely on the feds for more than 40% of transportation dollars.
And that’s the new reality to which we all must adjust.