Leaders of 68 industry organizations and associations this week sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) urging Senate floor time for action on the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021 (STRA) before August.
The letter reads as follows:
Investing in infrastructure remains a transformational opportunity for Congress to improve the nation’s economy, create thousands of good-paying jobs, and build for the future. We are encouraged by your May 25 comments pledging to seize this opportunity and move an infrastructure bill in July. We urge you to take the next step by formally scheduling Senate floor time now for action on the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021 (STRA) before the August state work period.
The STRA was unanimously approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) and calls for historic and timely levels of investment to rebuild the nation’s roads and bridges. The bill would increase federal highway investment by 34 percent, while pursuing important environmental review and approval process reforms, protecting infrastructure assets from future natural disasters, preserving state flexibility and improving the safety of our assets.
The EPW Committee moved first in 2019 to spur action before the FAST Act surface transportation law expired in 2020, but inaction by other committees led to a stalled process and a one-year extension. Short-term extensions generate significant disruptions and uncertainty for state transportation programs and the people and businesses relying on infrastructure development. An announcement of floor time for the STRA consideration would be a strong signal of preserved continuity of federal funds and help facilitate necessary action among other relevant Senate committees.
We continue to encourage bipartisan negotiations on a larger infrastructure package and recognize the need to invest in all forms of infrastructure. Moving a surface transportation authorization can prove to be an important step in that process. Highway and public transportation programs are the only federal infrastructure authorizations set to expire Sept. 30 and cannot wait past the summer work period for Senate action.
Please ensure the progress made on the STRA continues by scheduling a full surface transportation reauthorization bill for floor consideration before the August state work period.
Associations that signed the letter include the American Road & Transportation Builders Association; American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials; Associated General Contractors of America; American Public Transportation Association; American Public Works Association; American Society of Civil Engineers; and the American Traffic Safety Services Association.
SOURCE: American Road & Transportation Builders Association
IMAGE: Senate Democrats via flickr