The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee recently announced plans to unveil a major highway policy bill prior to a Congressional recess in August.
Surface transportation policymakers in the Senate are in the process of drafting a five-year highway bill that would serve as the reauthorization of the FAST Act, which expires in October 2020.
“It is our shared goal to advance a bill out of committee this summer," Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate EPW Committee, said during a Senate hearing. “We have crumbling roads and bridges and they desperately need to be repaired or replaced."
Details regarding the proposals in the upcoming legislation have yet to be announced, but policymakers have expressed interest in pursuing transportation issues such as improving freight connectivity, the overall safety of travelers, guidelines for autonomous vehicle technology, and access to transit systems, according to a report from Transport Topics.
A House committee has not scheduled consideration of its version of the highway policy bill. However, the House did recently pass a FY 2020 appropriations package consisting of five bills, one of which funds the U.S. DOT with $86.6 billion in budgetary resources.
A number of industry stakeholders have urged Congress to pass a multiyear highway bill before the FAST Act expires. Many groups have also advocated for long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund, which is projected to become insolvent by 2021.
“Our roads and bridges are in need of a serious investment," Barrasso added in his statement. “If we do not pass a long-term surface transportation bill, and instead pass a series of short-term extensions, we will undermine our states’ abilities to plan for these challenges. That is not a good option. We have an obligation to get this done."
SOURCE: Transport Topics | Senate EPW Committee