This funding model, particularly its reliance on motor fuel taxes levied at both the state and federal levels, creates numerous and serious challenges in meeting Georgia’s transportation needs.
First, the federal Highway Trust Fund is not an annual grant program. Georgia does not receive its allocation from the fund at the beginning of the year. Rather, funds are authorized from the Highway Trust Fund, but the state receives no cash from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) from the Highway Trust Fund until the state invoices the FHWA for a reimbursement for work already performed.
Any uncertainty as to the level or availability of funds from the Highway Trust Fund can thus result in project delays or conservative scheduling of projects. Additionally, over the last decade, Congress has demonstrated an increased reluctance to deal with significant infrastructure funding issues in a responsible, forward looking manner. Recently, federal action on infrastructure authorization and funding issues has taken place in short spurts of three, six, or 12-18 month authorizations. This leaves state and local transportation agencies in dire need of stability and predictability.