Senate committee passes 2-year bill

Bill keeps funding level, consolidates programs

Editorial/Commentary News BAF, ARTBA November 09, 2011
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The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) unanimously passed a bipartisan transportation reauthorization bill today that funds projects at current levels plus inflation over the next two years.


In response, Building America’s Future President Marcia Hale issued the following statement:


“We applaud Chairman Boxer and Sen. Inhofe for working together to produce a bipartisan bill to improve our nation’s transportation networks. While we would prefer to see a longer-term authorization, this bill is a significant step forward in addressing our nation’s vast transportation infrastructure needs.


“The bill includes many of the critical reforms that Building America’s Future has long supported including consolidating or eliminating programs; taking steps to ensure that projects can be completed faster, such as expanding innovative contracting methods and encouraging early coordination between relevant reviewing agencies; increasing Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) authorization; including greater accountability; and recognizing the importance of reliable goods movement by establishing a new Freight Network Program. However, the bill should have done more to give states greater flexibility to toll their interstates.


“We continue to urge Congress and the Obama administration to move towards a long-term authorization bill focused on reform. We cannot continue to sit idle as our global economic competitors continue to build 21st century transportation systems.”


American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President Pete Ruane issued this statement:


"Today's unanimous vote in the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee in support of a two-year surface transportation bill that would maintain current authorization levels and institute a host of important policy reforms is a critical step toward beginning to address the nation's enormous infrastructure challenges.


"It also demonstrates that bipartisanship is still a viable option in the pursuit of public policy solutions. We commend Chairman Boxer and Sens. Inhofe, Baucus and Vitter for their leadership in producing the MAP-21 proposal.


"As positive as today's action is—particularly after more than two years of temporary extensions—the fundamental obstacle to a multiyear surface transportation bill remains.


"We urge the Senate Finance Committee to act quickly in securing the additional revenue necessary to support the bill's transportation investments. Hundreds of thousands of American jobs are at risk until both the Senate and House complete action on a long-term highway and transit reauthorization bill."

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