By Chris Fox, Austin Bureau Chief | 1080 KRLD

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AUSTIN (1080 KRLD) –  In a recent State House select committee hearing on Transportation Planning, TXDOT Leadership was very clear in explaining how early preparation for construction of vital projects may be delayed because of inaction by the Federal Government.

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TXDOT Planning Director Marc Williams testified in order for transportation planning to be effective they have to have a reliable understanding of what the revenue sources are.

“The Federal Highway Administration says in order for us to approve a project through the environmental process it has to fit within a financially constrained plan” said Williams.

The problem is that key Federal transportation funding needed to move projects forward is held up in Congress with a hard September 30th deadline.

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Committee member State Representative Amrando Walle questioned Williams about how the state would go about planning future projects without a Federal Highway Bill. Williams says one of the State’s real challenges is the unpredictable nature at the Federal level.

“We don’t know what Congress is going to continue to do to extend transportation funding at the Federal level.”

He calls this a “Catch-22” since the Fed’s aren’t telling states how much funding they’ll provide as the states are being asked to assemble necessary financing to move forward at least through the environmental process of projects.

Without approval of the Federal Highway Bill, projects would most likely have to be halted due to more than 30-percent underfunding.

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