Washington – The American Trucking Associations said a revised memo outlining the Federal Highway Administration’s priorities for states’ use of funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will reduce confusion and accelerate important investments in improving freight capacity.
“As I told Congress earlier this month, FHWA’s memo didn’t just run counter to what lawmakers intended with IIJA, it was causing significant confusion for states at a time when those states needed to be working closely with FHWA to make sure the record-setting investment is directed to where it can do the most good,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “The IIJA was a good piece of bipartisan legislation and FHWA’s original memo was a misguided attempt to do an end-run around the priorities Congress set and it is a positive sign that DOT leadership has issued new guidance more in line with those priorities.”
In 2021, FHWA issued a memo outlining a wish list of priorities for states as they spent IIJA funds – priorities that ran counter to the bipartisan bill’s intent by directing funds to highway maintenance and non-highway projects over investments in expanding highway capacity.
Spear told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on February 1 that the effect of the memo was the country would have “really nice roads and bridges, but we're still sitting on them going nowhere. We need truck lanes we need parking we need new bridges. We need more capacity to move the freight.”
FHWA’s new memo brings the agency’s guidance in line with IIJA’s language and clarifies that states can invest in critical freight capacity expansion projects.
“We are pleased that thanks to congressional leadership – notably House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Sam Graves and Senator Shelley Moore Capito, ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee – FHWA recognized their mistake and changed course,” Spear said. “We look forward to continuing to work with FHWA and Congress to make sure this historic investment goes to where it can do the most good for our country and economy.”