Monday, June 2, 2008

International Bridge Conference looks for funding options

Bridge builders and designers from around the world are in Pittsburgh today for the international bridge conference and much of the focus is on federal transportation spending. US Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Thomas Barrett says rising construction costs and an aging highway system will continue to put more demand on the federal budget. He says there needs to be new approaches to funding maintenance and new construction including the use of private investment. Barrett says the private money could come in the form of financing, toll road leasing and uses of new technologies. He says if the funds are not captured by US projects the money will flow to India, China and Europe. Congress is debating a new round of long term federal transportation funding and many of those gathered at the conference feel there will be a fight to get funding levels increased. Barrett says the D-O-T does not support an increase in the gas tax. The new transportation bill will not be approved until after a new president and congress are sworn in.

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