TEA-21 transportation bill passes Congress, awaits Clinton’s signature

Article December 28, 2000
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TEA-21 (Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century), the six-year $216 billion highway bill for roads, bridges and mass transit, was approved by the House on May 22 by a 297-86 margin. The Senate voted 88-7 to pass the bill a few hours before the House acted. Senate and House conferees negotiated for weeks on a compromise designed to distribute money collected through the 18.4 cents- per-gallon federal gasoline tax cut back to the states.
At press time, President Clinton had yet to sign the bill into law, but was expected to do so.

“This is a historic piece of legislation, because now the American people will know that trust is being put back in the transportation trust fund. The gas tax which they pay into the fund will be available to be spent on transportation purposes,” said House Transportation Committee Chairman Bud Shuster.

The federal funding boost should spur highway funding increases at the state level. To participate in most federal highway programs, states are required to provide matching funds, on an average 20% to a federal 80% share, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association President Pete Ruane.

The most important aspect of the bill is a landmark provision that changes the way highway and mass transit capital investment is treated in the federal budget. Until the year 2003, the bill is believed to guarantee that all incoming revenues to the Highway Trust Fund can only be used for highway and mass transit investments
Andrew H. Card Jr., president and CEO of the American Automobile Manufacturers Association (AAMA) said, “ISTEA will provide more than $200 billion over a six-year period, most of it for federal highway and highway safety programs. It will help alleviate road congestion, save lives and create jobs. As the government works to improve road conditions, automakers are making strides to improve vehicle safety. Better engineered roads that are traveled by safer cars and trucks will go a long way toward reducing the number of accidents and injuries on the nation’s highways.”

The increase will be financed entirely with fuel taxes and other fees paid by motorists and truckers. For the fist time since the Highway Trust Fund was established in 1956, this bill guarantees that annual highway spending will match the amount of gas taxes paid into the fund by motorists.

“In years past, Congress has used gas taxes for other purposes. As a result, there is a $24 billion balance sitting in the Highway Trust Fund while our roads and bridges literally crumble beneath us. The highway bill will end this practice and restore integrity to federal budgeting practices,” said William D. Fay, president and CEO of the American Highway Users Alliance.

A comprehensive summary of the TEA-21 state funds, which include the updated allocated totals, is listed below:
Dollars in thousands:

  • Alabama - 530,516
  • Alaska - 311,860
  • Arizona - 407,814
  • Arkansas - 345,860
  • California - 2,406,992
  • Colorado - 305,526
  • Connecticut - 397,475
  • Delaware - 115,793
  • District of Columbia - 103,543
  • Florida - 1,208,600
  • Georgia - 918,804
  • Hawaii - 135,502
  • Idaho - 202,009
  • Illinois - 885,171
  • Indiana - 617,387
  • Iowa - 314,609
  • Kansas - 306,678
  • Kentucky - 454,508
  • Louisiana - 416,163
  • Maine - 137,753
  • Maryland - 394,884
  • Massachusetts - 487,827
  • Michigan - 825,390
  • Minnesota - 392,423
  • Mississippi - 318,954
  • Missouri - 618,094
  • Montana - 259,879
  • Nebraska - 203,318
  • Nevada - 189,707
  • New Hampshire - 135,135
  • New Jersey - 675,702
  • New Mexico - 258,702
  • New York - 1,351,299
  • North Carolina - 740,665
  • North Dakota - 171,517
  • Ohio - 896,635
  • Oklahoma - 403,573
  • Oregon - 318,875
  • Pennsylvania - 1,305,731
  • Rhode Island - 155,943
  • South Carolina - 416,425
  • South Dakota - 187,116
  • Tennessee - 592,731
  • Texas - 1,887,940
  • Utah - 204,967
  • Vermont - 119,693
  • Virginia - 670,755
  • Washington - 467,856
  • West Virginia - 296,261
  • Wisconsin - 521,277
  • Wyoming - 181,934
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