Meeting together at the site of the new Spoede Road overpass construction, leaders from the Associated General Contractors of St. Louis (AGC) and the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) called on Congress September 9 to take immediate action and prevent an impending revenue shortfall in the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF).
Unless Congress acts immediately, federal highway and bridge investment may be cut 34 percent for fiscal year 2009, which begins Oct. 1, 2008. As a result, Missouri could lose nearly $252 million in federal highway investment, along with more than 8,000 good paying construction jobs that it supports. That could impact projects like the Interstate 40/64 reconstruction in the future.
"The Highway Trust Fund is facing a first-ever deficit, and as Congress returns to work this week, we urge them – in the strongest possible terms – to address this situation immediately," ARTBA President and CEO Pete Ruane said. Ruane noted the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation to keep the HTF solvent July 23.
All nine members of Missouri’s House delegation supported the bill. Action is now pending in the U.S. Senate.
Ruane also warned of the potential negative impacts on highway safety and traffic congestion in the St. Louis area if Congress does not act. He asked construction professionals and the motoring public to call their U.S. senators and House members using the association’s toll-free hotline at 1-888-448-2782 and urge them to continue working for a Highway Trust Fund "fix" now.
AGC, along with the Heavy Constructors Association of Greater Kansas City, recently joined ARTBA as the national association’s Missouri affiliates. Their partnership gives the state a stronger voice in the Nation’s Capital on transportation funding issues.
"Congress needs to replenish the Highway Trust Fund right away. Otherwise, some of our area’s federal-aid transportation construction projects could be severely delayed, while others won’t ever make it off the drawing board," said Len Toenjes, president, AGC of St. Louis. He also noted his association’s combined membership is a major employer in the region.
AGC of St. Louis is the united voice of the area construction industry, representing over 400 area construction firms employing more than 40,000 people. Last year alone, AGC of St. Louis member firms built projects worth more than $3.0 billion throughout the St. Louis region.