Dwindling highway fund could impact Texas roads - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

CENTRAL TEXAS

Dwindling highway fund could impact Texas roads

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CENTRAL TEXAS - Texas highways and the folks who maintain them could be in trouble.  That's because the Federal Highway Trust Fund is running out of money fast.  

President Obama and Congress are pushing for an extension before that happens.  TxDOT gets about 80 percent of its funding from the federal government, so whatever happens with the Highway Trust Fund in Washington will absolutely impact us here at home. 

When it comes to transportation funding, there's one thing Democrats and Republicans can agree on.

Congressman Bill Flores says, "We both know we've got a problem. The gasoline tax has been flat for over a decade and it's not producing enough revenues to meet our highway construction needs."  

That means the federal Highway Trust Fund is drying up.  Unless Congress extends funding by the end of this month, the Department of Transportation says it will have to pull back on funding for state highway and bridge projects. 

Flores says, "What we're doing this week is trying to come up with a patch to patch that through March of next year with the hope that we eventually put a permanent fix in place for the highway trust fund."     

So what's the holdup on that permanent fix?  Congressman Flores says the conservative backed House wants states to control transportation funding.  The Democratic Senate thinks the federal government should remain in charge. 

Since there's no middle ground, coming up with a long-term solution hasn't been easy.  Regardless, lawmakers say they know something has to be done now and later. 

Congressman John Carter says, "We've gotta have a sit down as real policy makers and come up with solutions for transportation because it's as important as anything else we've got up here."   

Both Congressmen say they think a Highway Trust Fund extension will pass before they recess for the summer.  The House passed its version, just minutes ago. 

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