Arc of Southeast MS to receive $20,000 grant from The Greater PineBelt Community Foundation's Ann Morris Fund

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from the Mississippi Department of Transportation 

Mississippi is waiting to see whether Congress will be ableto cover a looming funding gap in the federal Highway Trust Fund.

In January, the USDOT began posting Highway Trust Fundtickers online and updating them monthly to allow the public to watch ourtransportation dollars dwindle towards zero.

In April, USDOT raised awareness about this problem bytaking a bus tour through eight state, including Mississippi.

In May, the USDOT sent Congress the GROW AMERICA Act, outfour-year, $302 billion transportation funding proposal.

In June, MDOT issued a press release on the need for increasedfunding for deteriorating roadways and bridges in Mississippi.

This week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx issued a letter(attached) to all state departments of transportation detailing how the FederalHighway Administration will implement payments for road projects if the fundingissues are not addressed.

According to theletter, if a new funding plan is not put in place by Congress, states will seea 28 percent drop in transportation funding. Foxx is urging Congress to come upwith a solution to fund the Highway Trust Fund before August 1. After thatdate, Foxx said there will be a change in the way states are paid for federalroad projects.

Under the currentprocess, states pay for transportation projects upfront and then submitinvoices to the Federal Highway Administration which reimburses the states outof the Highway Trust Fund. Secretary Foxx said after August 1, instead ofreimbursing states, funding will be paid to the states based on a percentage ofwhatever is left in the Highway Trust Fund. This change in the reimbursementplan will reduce the amount of money states have to fix highways and bridges.

MDOT Executive DirectorMelinda McGrath has issued a statement on the effect of the Highway Trust Fundinsolvency to Mississippi's transportation infrastructure.

"The Congressional BudgetOffice has projected revenues in the Highway Trust Fund will not meet currentspending obligations as early as this month. MDOT's highway and bridge projectbacklog will continue to grow with the loss of these federal funds. In theevent Congress does not add revenue to the Highway Trust Fund, it will benecessary to pull all state-funded maintenance projects open for bid in July.This is something our state can't afford. We are hopeful the Highway Trust Fundwill be repaired to ensure MDOT may immediately continue with necessarytransportation system preservation and construction projects."