The American Trucking Associations (ATA) urges Congress to expedite passage of legislation to restore funding to critical federal highway and highway safety programs suspended by the Feb. 28 expiration of a SAFETEA-LU extension.

‘The immediate cessation of funding for the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) is of greatest concern,’ said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. MCSAP provides state grants for roadside inspection of commercial trucks and buses.

‘Without this money, states may not be able to provide sufficient enforcement efforts necessary to ensure commercial vehicles are in a safe operating condition, and that truck and bus drivers are properly licensed and in compliance with federal safety regulations such as the federal hours-of-service regulations,’ Graves said.

Congress is currently considering several options that would restore funding to MCSAP. These resolutions would also allow other highway safety programs and federal-aid highway construction and maintenance projects to proceed.

The House and Senate failed to reach an agreement to continue outlays of Highway Trust Fund (HTF) money. The federal highway, transit and motor carrier safety programs had been operating under the SAFETEA-LU extension. Because the program expired, the Federal Highway Administration is not able to reimburse states for federal-aid projects already under way and cannot approve new projects.

State Departments of Transportation are likely to stop or slow down many HTF-funded construction projects due to the uncertainty of federal funding. Halting these construction projects hinders our nation’s ability to alleviate traffic congestion and proceed with necessary highway safety improvements. The shutdown is likely to also delay future reimbursements, even after the highway funding problems are resolved.