DALLAS – With funds in the federal Highway Trust Fund dwindling, Oklahoma is slowing highway construction amid continuing uncertainty, state Department of Transportation Director Mike Patterson said Monday.

"We’re going to have to take a look at future lettings, until we get some assurance that the funding is going to be there," Patterson told the Oklahoma Transportation Commission.

With Congress unable to agree on how to restore the Highway Trust Fund, the fund is expected to be exhausted by fiscal year 2015, according to federal officials. The fund is fueled by 18.4-cents per gallon tax on gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel.

The current law — Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, or MAP-21 — was signed into law in July 2012 and authorized about $19 billion in general fund transfers to the Highway Trust Fund through fiscal year 2014.

With greater fuel efficiency and no way to adjust the fuel tax, the Highway Trust Fund is running an $11 billion deficit for fiscal year 2013.

Patterson said that the current trust fund balance of $4 billion is the lowest he’s ever seen it, even lower than the previous low of $12 billion in 2008.

In ODOT’s recently passed eight-year plan, 55% of projects are federally funded and 45% are state funded, Patterson said.

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