Congress Could Delay Bay Area Transportation Planning By Holding Up Federal Funds
SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The purchase of new BART cars, planning for new Muni Metro light rail vehicles and Caltrain electrification could be held up if Congress doesn’t reauthorize federal transportation funding by next week.
The Bay Area relies heavily on federal funding to do everything from fixing potholes to the construction of new highway interchanges, but the August 1st deadline could hold up billions of highway and transit dollars. The federal money comes from the gas tax, which the federal government hasn’t raised in 30 years.
Congress has so far been unable to agree on a plan. Without one, dozens of projects could be delayed, putting the state into debt.
Randy Rentschler with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission said the deadline can be a big deal.
“The state of California had trouble with their budgets a number of years ago. Transportation funds were held up, but that doesn’t mean the contract you sign with the builder stopped. You have a contract and that contract has to be paid. If you interrupt and then restart that contract, just as though you were doing it for the roof of your house, you’re gong to pay a premium,” he said.
Without reauthorization of the transportation funding plan pothole repair, highway widening and numerous other projects could all be affected. Bay Area transportation planners might have to go through all of this again in May, because any move by Congress would only be for nine months.