Making Transportation Progress in the 21st Century
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After three years and nine extensions, the House and Senate both pass a 27-month, $105 billion surface transportation bill. Now the clock is ticking to 2014.
The House and Senate on June 29 passed a new bipartisan, bicameral 27-month, $105 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21).
The measure, H.R. 4348, passed the House 373-52, just before the June 30 expiration of the ninth extension of Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). The Senate passed the bill 74-19. The legislation authorizes federal highway and transit investment through the end of September 2014 with the current funding level, plus a slight bump for inflation. President Obama signed the bill on July 6.
Ron Summers, senior vice president, Materials Division, CalPortland Co., lauded the bill, saying that it assures the employment of 3 million Americans in the construction industry, where unemployment has outpaced the national rate.
National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) President and CEO Joy Pinniger says the bill will help put the aggregate industry back on the road to economic growth. “Every $1 million in aggregates sales creates 19.5 jobs, and every dollar of industry output returns $1.58 to the economy,” Pinniger said in a written statement. She noted that the bill includes reforms that consolidate programs and eliminate program redundancies, as well as expediting the project approval process.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood calls the transportation bill “a good, bipartisan bill that will create jobs, strengthen our transportation system, and grow our economy.” LaHood notes in an official press statement that the bill “provides states and communities with two years of steady funding to build the roads, bridges, and transit systems they need.”
Lisa Carson, marketing manager for KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens, which heads up The Road Connection, a nationwide initiative to highlight the need for increased road and infrastructure funding, noted that the “measure is far from perfect,” [but] it gives our contractors and dealers the stability they need to continue their operations and provide jobs to millions of Americans.”
Despite this progress after three years of short-term extensions, Congress still has to worry about the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which will be depleted in 2015.
Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) at a Glance
• MAP-21 reauthorizes the federal-aid highway program at the Congressional Budget Office’s baseline level — equal to current funding levels plus inflation — for two fiscal years.
• MAP-21 consolidates the number of federal programs by two-thirds, from about 90 programs down to less than 30.
• MAP-21 eliminates earmarks.
• Map-21 expedites project delivery while protecting the environment.
• MAP-21 creates a new title called “America Fast Forward,” which strengthens the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Program (TIFIA) to leverage federal dollars further than they have been stretched before.
• MAP-21 consolidates certain programs into a focused freight program to improve the movement of goods.
Source: U.S. Senate; a downloadable PDF of “Summary of Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” is available at
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