SB County Successful in Advocating for NACo Platform Language to Protect Infrastructure Funding for Counties
MAP-21, our nation’s current transportation bill, does not provide secured funding for On-System bridges; those bridges which are on Federal-Aid Routes, but not on the National Highway System. These structures represent approximately half of our bridges in Santa Barbara County. Without guaranteed federal funding to assist our Public Works Department in the maintenance of these facilities would stretch our already limited maintenance dollars well beyond their capacity.
Chairman James Healy from DuPage County, IL, NACO who leads the Transportation Steering Committee, thanked Supervisor Carbajal for his leadership in raising this very important national issue to his committee. After consideration the committee took this issue and included it in their policy for reauthorization of MAP-21 which will be communicated to the President and Congressional leadership in the fall of this year as Congress begins consideration of the next transportation reauthorization bill.
“Without secured funding for On-System bridges our local efforts to invest in and maintain our transportation infrastructure will be severely jeopardized. The inclusion of this language in the NACo policy statement is in important step forward in highlighting the critical role this federal funding plays in communities such as Santa Barbara County,” stated Supervisor Carbajal.
Below is the resolution Supervisor Carbajal presented for consideration:
Resolution in Support of a Funding Set Aside and/or Performance Measures for On-System Bridges
Issue: MAP 21’s elimination of dedicated revenue for On-System bridges.
Proposed Policy: NACo urges Congress to protect this nation’s On-System bridges through reauthorization ofMAP-21 that creates a dedicated funding set aside and performance measures for these important highway facilities.
Background:Safe and reliable local bridges are critical to maintaining a healthy transportation system and to protect the safety of the traveling public. MAP-21 recognizes the benefits to America from maintaining safe and passable bridges throughout the nation. It includes methods to continue maintenance for two of the three categories of structures on the transportation system: those on the National Highway System (NHS) and Off-System bridges.
Future NHS bridge maintenance is assured by performance measures that our 50 States must meet in order to avoid restrictions on federal transportation funding. Future Off-System bridges are funded by a specific set-aside of transportation funding for their maintenance. However, MAP-21 does not provide secured future funding for the On-System bridges; those on Federal-Aid Routes, but not on the NHS. These structures account for a significant portion of this nation’s bridge inventory. They carry millions of vehicles each day and are integral parts of our arterial and collector road system.
On-System bridges need to be protected and maintained into the future and continuing federal funding, similar to the previous Highway Bridge Program (HBP), for this category of bridges is critical to local agency’s ability to maintain these facilities into the future.
Fiscal/Urban/Rural Impact: Continued federal funding for the maintenance of On-System bridges which are a significant piece of county transportation infrastructure systems around our nation. Without dedicated funding for On-System bridges, counties could have to invest billions of dollars from other sources of funding for transportation infrastructure, diverting revenues critical to other important transportation infrastructure projects and programs.
Sponsors: Salud Carbajal, Supervisor, County of Santa Barbara, California; California State Association of Counties (CSAC)