Senators in both parties said they are close to an agreement to authorize U.S. highway and mass transit projects for as many as six years, seeking to prevent funds from running out during the mid-year construction season.
Three months before proposing in his Jan. 24 State of the Union speech to speed up construction projects, President Barack Obama designated replacement of New York’s Tappan Zee Bridge for “fast-track” approvals, saying he wanted to cut red tape and create jobs.
Congress’s partisan divide over tax increases is jeopardizing action on a long-term highway bill backed by industry groups, raising the risk that the U.S. will run out of money to pay for projects next year.
Companies that build private toll roads are pressing states to assume more financial risk of traffic not meeting expectations, a change that benefits the operators while threatening to increase taxpayer costs.
Smaller, rural states with the least traffic congestion felt the impact of about $27 billion in U.S. highway economic-stimulus funds more than those with large urban areas and the biggest budgets for roads and bridges, a national study said.
Investors are driving the New York State Thruway Authority’s borrowing costs to a 14-month low relative to benchmark debt in a bet that the agency will be able to finance the largest project in its 63-year history.