June 2nd, 2009
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe said Tuesday the federal fund that pays for highways will run out of money by August, forcing Oklahoma to deprogram up to $80 million in projects.
“This will be done by canceling new projects and existing contracts that have already been signed,” the Oklahoma Republican said in a written statement.
Inhofe said projects that have already broken ground also will be delayed.
“Clearly this would have a detrimental effect on the economy and will negate the gains made by the stimulus,” he said.
Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said he based his comments on information the Obama administration shared recently with Democrats on the panel.
He said figures on the Oklahoma impact came from the state.
Inhofe submitted his statement at the Senate committee’s confirmation hearing for Victor Mendez to be the head of the Federal Highway Administration.
In comments to reporters outside the committee room, Inhofe did not provide a specific solution to the Highway Trust Fund’s problems.
He again expressed opposition to raising the federal gas tax to increase revenue generated for the trust fund.
The current transportation bill expires this fall.
Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said additional revenue will be needed to merely to maintain existing programs.
Source: Tulsa World