Sens. Boxer and Inhofe release outline for bipartisan transportation reauthorization bill
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member, on July 19 released an outline for Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), a bipartisan proposal to reauthorize the nation’s transportation programs for two years.
The proposal maintains funding at the current levels, includes significant reforms to make the nation’s transportation programs more streamlined and efficient, and provides robust assistance for transportation projects under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program to leverage state, local and private-sector funding.
According to a written press statement released from the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, the senators said the following about this much-debated proposed legislation.
Sen. Boxer said: “We have worked together to develop MAP-21, which is a bipartisan proposal that modernizes and reforms our current transportation systems to help create jobs, jumpstart our economy, and build the foundation for long-term prosperity. This bill is an investment in America’s future, because the nation’s aging infrastructure has not kept up with needed improvements, and now our transportation systems are falling behind other countries. We will continue to work to move the transportation bill through the EPW Committee and the full Senate.”
Sen. Inhofe said: “Today [July 19] I am pleased join Senator Boxer to announce that we have completed bipartisan negotiations on the highway policies that will be included in the next transportation bill. This is a tremendous step forward. Chairman Boxer has shown her willingness to work with us to produce a bill that should enjoy strong bipartisan support. Our next step is crucial: given the state of our economy, and the debate here in Congress, we must work with Chairman Baucus and Republicans on the Finance Committee to find a way to pay for this bill. I am confident that if we continue to work together as we have thus far, we can get the job done. Doing so is vital for jobs, the economy and our nation’s infrastructure.”
The current surface transportation bill extension expires on Sept. 30, and many groups, ranging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the AFL-CIO, have called for immediate action to reauthorize the nation’s transportation programs. The Senate’s approach is a clear rejection of the 34 percent cut in funding proposed by the House, which would result in 630,000 jobs in highways and transit being lost in 2012.
Specific highlights from key areas of the proposal include the following:
MAP-21 authorizes Federal-aid highway programs for two years while maintaining current spending levels. The goal of the Committee remains attaining the optimum achievable authorization depending on the resources available and in a way that does not increase the deficit and can achieve bipartisan support. In addition, MAP-21 eliminates earmarks.
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