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Western states speeding up transportation projects; future gains rely on long-term certainty

The kind of progress achieved in New Mexico and throughout the WASHTO region is a risk, depending on the willingness of Congress to pass a long-term transportation bill that gives states the funding and policy certainty they need to continue planning other projects like these, WASHTO members said.

The Trucker News Services

7/21/2014

Earlier this week, the Western Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (WASHTO) conference, “Crossroads to the Future” held in Albuquerque, revealed what New Mexico and the 17 other WASHTO member states are doing to get projects done sooner.

On project the city of Albuquerque officials and New Mexico’s DOT are working on is an EDC (FHWA’s Every Day Counts program to promote state-based projects) project-delivery method known as “design-build” with assistance from the Federal Highway Administration for the Paseo Del Norte/I-25 interchange reconstruction. When completed, the project will relieve traffic congestion, improve air quality, increase safety at one of the state’s busiest interchanges and be completed sooner than previously thought possible, which is a money-saver, WASHTO members said.

The kind of progress achieved in New Mexico and throughout the WASHTO region is a risk, depending on the willingness of Congress to pass a long-term transportation bill that gives states the funding and policy certainty they need to continue planning other projects like these, WASHTO members said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation officials said in a blog post that the Grow America Act that Secretary Anthony Foxx sent to Capitol Hill in May gets the country there by reinvigorating state and local highway investments, creating jobs for thousands and extending longer than a quick-fix stopgap measure.

“Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming have diverse climates, road conditions, traffic volumes and transportation challenges. But when it comes to delivering better projects quickly, they all have one thing in common: every day they are working to save time, save money, and save lives,” the blog post said. “FHWA and DOT will continue to support their work and maintain their trust as they build or improve upon their highways, roads and bridges. But the transportation leaders of those states made it clear at the WASHTO conference that, as they navigate the ‘Crossroads to the Future,’ they also need congressional action that sends a similar signal of support.”

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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