Local officials say their piece of the road funding pie needs to be a lot bigger after a significant decrease in the Senate plan. The Senate proposal cut local funding by more than two-thirds from the House version.
And while local officials obviously aren’t happy with the funding decrease in the Senate roads bill, there are other provisions they’d also like to see changed.
Both House and Senate plans would continue a local matching grant program created last year. But the Senate bill requires locals to put up half of the money, just as the current program does. Aim CEO Matt Greller, representing cities and towns, says the House plan would require locals to put up only 20 percent of the funds.
“Which obviously makes it much easier for a larger and deeper population of local governments to participate in that program at a lower matching level. So that would be one, I think … particularly more rural, smaller areas, smaller counties – that’s gonna help,” Greller says.
Sen. Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek), an architect of the Senate plan, says funding and matching grant levels are still up for negotiation.
“But I think the investment in the bill is still a pretty good nod to local communities,” Hershman says.
Lawmakers are working out the final details of the road funding package with the session’s end only a couple weeks away.