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Sequestration Cuts Could Affect Area Infrastructure Spending

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Sequestration cuts would affect road construction and infrastructure repair budgets.
Mylon Medley
Sequestration cuts would affect road construction and infrastructure repair budgets.

The roads, bridges, and rails that you commute on could be getting considerably less funding for repairs and improvements if automatic federal budget cuts take effect in January.

If Congress fails to pass a long-term deficit-reduction plan, the process know as sequestration takes effect. The highway trust fund would be exempt from cuts, but funds for infrastructure projects could dry up anyway. 

Fred Abouselman is executive director of the National Association of Regional Councils, a group that advocates cooperation among regional governments.  He says general fund revenues, often used to replenish the trust fund, would no longer be available, and the result would not be good for commuters.

"Less money to spend on improvements, more congestion, more potholes, maybe fewer trains, fewer bridges being repaired, fewer bridges being built," says Abouselman. "In general, we will see a continuing decline in both the state of our infrastructure and new infrastructure being built, a significant problem for our region."

He says important infrastructure projects in our region are already short of funds — sequestration would make the situation worse.

Experts also say that what major infrastructure projects local governments do tackle will likely be financed by borrowing, which will be made more expensive by sequestration.

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