Hoeven Addresses American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials, Meets with NDDOT Director Francis Zeigler

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today addressed the annual conference of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to stress the importance of reauthorizing the national highway bill, which is now being debated in Congress.  

Hoeven said he favors a six-year bill, which is being discussed in the U.S. House of Representatives, but that the two-year bill moving through the U.S. Senate is the more likely bill to pass and contains strong funding for North Dakota. Under the Senate version, North Dakota would receive $261 million in 2012 and $266 million in 2013.  

For the AASHTO group, Hoeven highlighted the Transportation Regional Infrastructure Project (TRIP) bonds he introduced with Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon. TRIP bonds would leverage public financing to fund transportation infrastructure projects across the nation.  

The plan, which is totally paid for, would provide each state with an additional $500 million to be used at local discretion for key infrastructure projects. States themselves would decide which projects would best serve their infrastructure needs. Meanwhile, the cost of the projects are offset over the life of the bonds. TRIP bonds will provide private investors a federal tax credit in lieu of interest to incentivize an investment of $25 billion over two years above their usual highway allocation. By leveraging readily available private capital, public transportation projects can go forward at a fraction of the cost to the federal government.  

          “We’re working in the Senate to make sure we have a bill that funds our priorities across the state and uses dollars effectively, including in the Devils Lake region and the state’s western oil patch,” Hoeven said.