U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx was in Houston to get a look at Metro’s new light rail lines. Two of those lines were built with federal dollars, but Foxx says cities around the country could face challenges when it comes to getting transit money in the future.
Metro received close to a billion dollars in federal money to build two of the new lines, but Foxx says it may not be easy to get that kind of money in the years to come.
The problem right now is that the Highway Trust Fund could face insolvency in a matter of months. That’s the fund that supports transit programs around the country.
“We’re funded by gas taxes. The gas taxes are declining in terms of their output and yet the needs in this country are increasing.”
Foxx says that’s why President Obama is pushing a $302 billion surface transportation proposal. The four-year plan would be funded by what the president is calling pro-growth business tax reform.
“This issue of the Highway Trust Fund going broke is a real issue because, frankly, whether you’re in Houston or any other part of the country, it’s going to be really hard to figure out how to support local programs, local projects, that are really important for access without the resources to do it.”
Houston’s newest light rail line opened late last year. Two more lines will open this fall.