Joung Lee (seen above), deputy director-chief policy officer of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, recently sat down with the AASHTO re:source podcast to discuss implementation progress on the year-old $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA.
[Above photo by AASHTO]
Enacted November 2021, the IIJA provides $351 billion for highways over five years from the Highway Trust Fund and the General Fund, with $307 billion provided as formula apportionments to states. Importantly, states directly receive 90 percent of total funding from the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund.
AASHTO issued a 79-page analysis of the IIJA in September 2021 that detailed the measure’s “historic funding increases” for federal highway, transit, highway safety, and rail programs as well as for equity, climate change, system resiliency, bridge investment, and project delivery and environmental review processes.
Lee – named AASHTO’s deputy director-chief policy officer in December 2021 after serving as the group’s director of policy and government relations – spearheads AASHTO’s transportation policy work and serves as a key liaison between AASHTO and Congress, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations.
Lee has previously noted that state DOTs “balance many different needs” in the execution of their duties, ranging from managing existing assets for the long-term, system operations, transportation demand management, strategic highway expansion, and additional capacity for other transportation modes.
“These various transportation options and solutions are needed to meet state and local communities’ mobility and accessibility challenges,” he explained.
“State DOTs remain fully committed to strategically managing its transportation assets under the IIJA [but their] investment strategies are not made in a vacuum. They must be made within the bounds of both federal requirements and the constitutional and statutory authority provided by state legislatures,” Lee said.
“Investment strategies and decisions reflect robust community engagement that informs long-range plans and transportation improvement programs that are developed with metropolitan and regional planning organizations,” he added.
Click here to listen to Joung’s full analysis of the implementation successes and challenges of the IIJA at the one-year mark.
AASHTO re:source – which launched this podcast series in September 2020 – is part of the engineering and technical services division of AASHTO. It provides services and tools through three major programs: the Laboratory Assessment Program, the Proficiency Sample Program, and the AASHTO Accreditation Program.