The new Congress will have a lot of items to address. Among those items is a Highway Trust Fund that is long overdue for attention. House Speaker John Brenner has identified the Highway Trust Fund as one area where congressional Republicans will try to work together with the Obama administration.
The Highway Trust Fund faces major financial problems, and the Highway Account that funds road construction and Mass Transit Account which funds mass transit are very close to insolvency. The new Congress is likely to focus on building sources of transportation funding for these two critically important accounts.
Highway Construction Funding
The new Congress is under pressure to work on a new, long-term surface transportation bill, a goal that lawmakers have left pending since 2009. As a stopgap measure, Congress has extended funding for states until May 2015. Many highway projects that are currently in various states of completion around the country currently hang in balance.
A new federal transportation bill would require approximately $100 billion in additional revenue. Until that materializes, however, states will require approximately $6.5 billion to maintain all the current highway projects, and keep them afloat until the 2015 fiscal year ends.
Those projects are important to maintain a safe network of highways. Several states that are very heavily dependent on federal funding for transportation expenses are also waiting for more action by lawmakers to plan their summer construction season for next year.
Expansion of Mass Transit Means Safer Roads
In Seattle, the new election means an expansion of the transit system, after voters voted for the measure. That could mean less of a burden on roadways and consequently safer roads, as more neighborhoods are serviced by mass transit.
Many of the gubernatorial candidates around the U.S. ran for elections promising that they would make transportation funding one of their top priorities. As a result, an increase in transportation finding is expected across the country.
Seattle Already Committed to Bike and Pedestrian Safety
This much is clear: newly elected lawmakers are under pressure to increase funding for transportation. Some are calling for more transportation money to improve traffic, bicycle, and pedestrian safety around the country. But Seattle is already committed to bicycle and pedestrian safety in a myriad of ways. The city even features a bike-share program to encourage biking and make cycling more convenient in the city.
Unfortunately, even spending more money on roadway safety won't completely eliminate traffic accidents. Some drivers may simply operate their vehicle negligently, putting themselves and others at risk for an accident. If you suffer injuries in a car accident, speak with Max Meyers. Call to set up a consultation.