U.S. Senate Committee Approves Highway Bill
Legislation Contains Important Safety Provisions
The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works has approved S.1813, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), a bill to reauthorize the nation’s transportation programs for two years. The 600-page bill was supported unanimously by committee members. The legislation is cosponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee; Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., ranking member of the committee; Sen. Max Baucus,
Although this legislation historically is the heart of federal transportation legislation, it contains significant safety and environmental provisions. Members of the committee were very open about their support for the legislation.
Boxer commented: “Thanks to all of our members for working with us to develop this important legislation. By moving forward with a unanimous vote on MAP-21 today, this committee sends a strong signal that we are serious about job creation and getting our economy back on track. This cooperation is a rare win for bipartisanship, and I believe it will provide encouragement to the Finance Committee as they work to ensure full funding for this two-year effort.”
Inhofe said: “Today’s unanimous vote in committee in support of our highway bill shows that momentum is on our side in the Senate to pass this important jobs legislation. I am pleased to have worked with [Senators] Boxer, Vitter and Baucus and commend them for their efforts. The next step is to address the $12 billion shortfall in funding. With the dedication of Senators Baucus and Crapo, and the rest of the Finance Committee, I am confident we will find the needed funds. Doing so is essential to jump-start the economy for Oklahoma and the nation.”
Baucus stated: “This bill presents an important opportunity for people to work together and create jobs for the good of our country. People of all walks of life and every political background rely on strong roads and safe transportation to live, work and raise their families. Because Montana is a highway state, we know firsthand that investing in transportation infrastructure creates good-paying jobs in the short term and for the long haul. Highways are our lifeblood in Montana and this bill is a good place for us to find common ground for our nation.”
Vitter said: “Our bipartisan highway bill is a jobs bill, an infrastructure bill which is designed to succeed and can succeed. Our reform approach, which has zero earmarks, will allow the state and MPOs greater flexibility to work together with the private sector to meet their local transportation needs – with much less federal bureaucracy slowing down the process.”
The legislation’s safety provisions include:
The legislation also contains efforts to improve the environment as it relates to transportation, specifically targeting congestion, highway construction impact on the environment, incentives for electric vehicle charging stations, additional diesel emissions controls and other initiatives.
The Secretary of Transportation is encouraged to prioritize certain intelligent transportation projects including those projects that “enhance safety through improved crash avoidance and protection, crash and other notification, commercial vehicle operations and infrastructure-based or cooperative safety systems; or facilitate the integration of intelligent infrastructure, vehicle and control technologies.”
The two-year, $109 billion package is not fully funded and is coming up $12 billion short of the necessary monies to implement all of its programs. Fuel efficiency and less driving has added to a reduction in fuel revenues to the federal government. The U.S. House of Representatives has a six-year bill that limits funding to fuel tax collections.
To view items related to transportation legislation, please go to the Automotive Service Association’s legislative website, www.TakingTheHill.com.
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