The federal government's Highway Trust Fund could run out of money in August unless something is done, according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. He launched a cross-country bus tour south of Columbus to push a proposal from the White House to fix the issue not just for the short-term, but the long-term as well. The Obama Administration plans to address the nation's infrastructure deficit with a $302 billion, four-year surface transportation reauthorization proposal.
"This bill will change the way we approach transportation, making it more efficient and innovative so we can meet the future needs all without adding to the budget deficit," Foxx said.
Foxx visited the worksite for the Pickaway County Connector which will add a faster route from U.S. 23 to the Rickenbacker Intermodal Facility near Lockbourne. It includes a bridge over railroad tracks that currently hold up truck traffic. The $29.8 million project's first phase began in late 2012 and is expected to be completed later this year. The project received a $16 million U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant in 2012.
"You've got a lot of congestion of truck traffic on the highway. I understand this project will reduce that congestion by about 20 percent," said Foxx.
Rickenbacker has the capacity to handle 250,000 shipping containers annually, but that may increase to 400,000 in coming years.