SAFETEA-LU is rolling out smoothly

So far legislation is making progress fighting congestion and improving safety

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A House subcommittee this week received an update from U.S. Department of Transportation officials over how the administration is implementing the most recent surface transportation legislation, which they said was moving ahead "smoothly" in most cases.

Rep. Thomas Petri (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Highway, Transit and Pipelines called the hearing, noting that more than 100 rulemakings were called by Congress in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act-A Legacy for Users.

Some recent events helped illustrate the department's progress in implementing SAFETEA-LU. Federal Highway Administrator J. Richard Capka highlighted U.S. DOT Secretary Norm Mineta's National Strategy to Reduce Congestion on America's Transportation Network and the first meeting of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission. The commission is focusing on an array of transportation issues and how to raise revenues to fund the system since government agencies are predicting the highway account of the Highway Trust Fund may go bankrupt as early as 2009.

Capka went on to say FHWA is actively working to distribute highway and transit funds to states and tribal governments to implement safety, congestion relief, freight and construction streamlining programs. Another core program included in SAFETEA-LU is the $5 billion Highway Safety Improvement Program, which calls for the development and implementation of Strategic Highway Safety Plans as well as the $612 million Safe Routes to School program.

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