Several representatives from various local and statewide transportation entities met with the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to discuss important issues and challenges the industry is facing right now. That roundtable discussion was held in Demopolis Wednesday evening.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx is making his rounds to various cities across the country to listen to concerns and also to be frank about the current national transportation budget.
Foxx met with about 20 representatives from various industries in the state including the trucking, farming and manufacturing industries.
Several issues were raised included shortage of drivers, and also the need for a regional interstate corridor connecting the Black Belt to the northern region of the country.
Foxx shared some bleak news about the Highway Fund Budget, basically saying there is no money to finish department of transportation projects throughout the country, in particular in those small rural areas like the Black Belt region.
"The highway trust fund basically supports states that are building roads, bridges and highways all across this country, and the highway trust fund is about to become solvent meaning we won't be able to pay the states what they are expecting to get projects done, which means the states are going to slow down contracts, maybe stop contracts. We've estimated 700,000 jobs are at risk nationally in transportation if the highway trust fund isn't put back on a better course," Foxx said.
Foxx says Congress can intervene and pump more money into the budget.
He will continue his tour and will be in Mississippi Thursday.
He says will share all the feedback with his staff in Washington.
The Marengo County Economic Development Authority sponsored this round table discussion.
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