Republican Senators Press Secretary Buttigieg on Controversial FHWA Guidance Memo

AGC Continues to Push Back on “Fix-it-First” False Narrative

On Feb. 18, Republican Senators, led by Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), called on Secretary Pete Buttigieg to rescind or substantially revise the controversial  Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) guidance memo that calls for, among other things, limiting a state’s ability to add new highway capacity. You might remember, AGC provided feedback to FHWA on this same memo back in January.

The FHWA memo promotes the same narrative that some external stakeholders and Members of Congress already pushed, that state DOTs should focus exclusively on maintenance and repair work on existing roadways (“fix-it first”) before building more or new roads. At first, this so-called “fix it first” approach sounds like common sense.  However, in promoting that policy FHWA and some stakeholders are just trying to limit a state’s ability to add new highway capacity.

In analyzing FHWA’s own data, AGC has found that states are already “fixing it first.” In fact, 80% of the funding that states receive already goes towards maintaining and reconstructing existing infrastructure. Our interstates were built and designed over 50 years ago, so it makes sense that states are now largely focused on maintaining and modernizing them. But it is also critical that states have the flexibility to add new capacity to meet the needs of a growing population.

For more information, contact Alex Etchen at

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