CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Division of Highways is waiting on Congress to decide the next step for the Federal Highway Trust Fund that will be insolvent Aug. 1 if nothing is done.

The U.S. House supports a plan that would provide $10.8 billion in funding through May 31, 2015 and the U.S. Senate is reportedly close to supporting a similar plan.

“We don’t know where that’s going to end up, but the fact that everybody is talking now is a good sign and we hope that we won’t see August 1st with this Highway Trust Fund becoming insolvent,” state DOH spokesman Brent Walker said.

The DOH has already contacted the contractors on federal jobs letting them know they will reduce their payments Aug. 1 if there’s no congressional agreement.

“They would have the choice of receiving those reduced payments for the work they’ve done or they could choose to stop construction until the crisis is averted,” state Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox recently told MetroNews.

Walker said everyone involved has had to come up with a game plan.

“They would have to determine how far they could work—whether it’s for free or pennies on the dollar,” he said.

There are 203 federal funded highway projects currently taking place in West Virginia.

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Comments

  • any major dude

    I feel pretty confident that this deal will be made. I don't think there is a constituent in the country that doesn't want their roads worked on. How it will be paid for is a different matter of course. But why do we always have to come down to the last minute on these deals, and why it cannot it be funded beyond May? But then I again, it always comes down to ViennaGuy's point: there are only three ways to provide these monies- raise taxes, cut spending in other areas, or deficit spend. To raise taxes or borrow monies is anathema to conservatives and cutting spending is anathema to the left. So they have to argue for awhile then decide to spend the money short-term so they can fight about it again as soon as possible. Or we could just elect Republicans and take the money from other areas of the budget that they don't like. Unfortunately I don't think the people in California or Illinois or New York would go along with that particular plan.

  • ViennaGuy

    It will only be "insolvent" because the fund won't have enough money to cover all of Congress's pet projects.

    The highway trust fund receives federal gas tax revenues every month, revenues which then go out to projects. It is true that federal gas tax revenues have declined due to less driving and cars getting better fuel economy, but that alone does not make the fund insolvent because revenues continue to be collected. So when revenues decline, what do you do? You cut back your spending, you increase revenue, or you do both - and Congress is not willing to do any of them.

    The root of the problem is that Congress's eyes are bigger than its wallet ... and that can be said for a lot of things other than the highway trust fund.