State transportation officials have authorized funding reductions for multiple highway programs in response to a mandate from the federal government to return $288 million to Washington by April 19. The reductions will not impact existing construction projects. The Texas Transportation Commission selected five funding categories from which to make the required reductions:
- $71 million from interstate maintenance
- $100 million from National Highway System (interstate, principal arterial, national defense and military base connector and intermodal roadways)
- $30 million from Surface Transportation Program (federal-aid highways and public road bridges)
- $60 million from congestion mitigation and air quality projects
- $24 million from bridge funding projects
To make the best decision, and since the balance in each category changes daily, final amounts will be determined in April when TxDOT responds to the Federal Highway Administration.
"We have heard the public and will not make further reductions to the transportation enhancements program," said Behrens. "But we want everyone to understand these funds will no longer be available to meet the transportation challenge in Texas. This situation is not unique to Texas," Behrens continued. "All 50 states have been directed to return federal transportation funds to Washington."
These reductions come on top of $305 million in funds TxDOT has had to return to Washington over the last 15 months. The funds in question had been appropriated by the federal government, which is now asking states to return the money to help support national priorities, such as the war on terrorism and hurricane response.