GDOT delays bids on $123 million in highway projects

[private]The Georgia Department of Transportation has pulled back 34 construction projects that normally would been put out for bids in December because of continued concerns that federal highway funding will be cut off.

DOT Commissioner Russell McMurry noted that the current federal funding extension for these projects ends next Thursday. Unless Congress votes to extend that deadline yet again, federal payments to the states will cease.

“It has been 10 years since Congress has been able to pass a transportation funding bill of more than a two-year duration,” McMurry said.

“Temporary fixes do not create the certainty state DOTs require in order to plan major transportation projects,” he said. “We can’t do long-term transportation planning with short-term funding fixes.”

The uncertainty over the highway money is magnified by the fact that the funding extension expires on Oct. 29. Five days later, on Nov. 3, is the date on which the U.S. Treasury Department has said the debt ceiling will have to be raised to avoid a default by the federal government.

“If Congress does not reach an agreement by then, US DOT will cut off payments for infrastructure projects to states and local governments in November,” McMurry said. “This poses grave challenges for our transportation system.”

The U.S. House is already in turmoil as Republican members try to find a new speaker to replace Rep. John Boehner, who has already announced his resignation.

The delayed projects pulled from the December bidding process were collectively valued at about $123 million, according to GDOT estimates.

They included a $45 million resurfacing project on I-75 in Catoosa County, a $20 million resurfacing project on I-75 in Tift County, and a $3 million operational improvement on Georgia 3 at Windy Hill Road in Cobb County.

© 2015 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: federal funding , GDOT , highway projects , Russell McMurry