Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood decried the failure of the congressional super committee to reach an agreement on budget reductions on Monday, warning the collapse of the effort could lead to major cuts in transportation and infrastructure programs.
“We now face across-the-board cuts to programs that are critical to rebuilding our crumbling transportation infrastructure and putting Americans back to work,” LaHood said in a statement.
He did not detail the cuts that may happen, but the DOT controls billions of dollars in ongoing spending on projects ranging from highways to airport and seaport improvements.
Those infrastructure plans have been at the heart of efforts to stimulate the U.S. economy and create jobs as private business has staggered out of the steep 2008-2009 recession.
Whatever cuts may come are at least a year away. Failure by the joint Republican-Democratic committee to agreement on a budget blueprint means $1.2 trillion in cuts could kick in starting in the 2013 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, 2012.
LaHood, a Republican, said there is still time for Congress to act.
“The American people want common-sense, bipartisan solutions that take a balanced approach to reducing the deficit while protecting critical transportation investments that create jobs and allow our economy to grow,” he said in a statement.
“When Congress comes back next month, I urge them to set aside politics and get to work on a bipartisan plan that will allow us to live within our means, while also meeting our responsibility to rebuild America’s critical transportation infrastructure.”