What’s the Surface Transportation Program (STP), and how does it impact you?
The STP provides flexible funding that may be used by States and localities for projects on any Federal-aid highway, including the NHS, bridge projects on any public road, transit capital projects, and intra-city and intercity bus terminals and facilities. Wow, that seems important!
The funding is authorized by something called SAFTEA- LU, and it has expired. The Feds haven’t gotten around to agreeing on what a new authorizing bill should contain, so instead they were planning to extend the current bill for a a year or so. An extension was part of a bill that Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky managed to kill late last week.
That bill not moving forward has resulted in the Federal Government losing the legal ability to fund rail, hwy, and road projects throughout the nation, as well as immediately causing thousands of government workers to lose their jobs. OK, I know many reading this won’t be sad about having fewer government workers on the payroll, BUT, If this is not corrected in a timely manner it will result in shutting down projects being constructed by private contractors and their private sector employees doing the work of improving our national infrastructure.
I can understand that the he effectively vetoed an omnibus type bill which may have had some warts, but for goodness sakes, the Surface Transportation Program funding comes in large part from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). Tax revenues directed to the HTF are derived from excise taxes on highway motor fuel and truck related taxes on truck tires, sales of trucks and trailers, and heavy vehicle use.
The Highway Trust Fund is funded by the users, namely those who travel on the highways. That’s you and me, folks. Do we think that the Senate could at least approve a bill which would restore the ability of our federal government to continue this important work? I hope so.