Transportation bill conference report move toward House, Senate consideration
House conferees have filed the pending transportation bill conference report, which allows the measure to move toward House and Senate consideration.
The measure will fund federal highway, transit and highway safety programs at current funding levels through the end of fiscal year 2014 for states to plan and undertake major transportation improvements, according to Congressman John L. Mica, chairman, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The measure contains no earmarks and does not increase spending.
With the approval of House and Senate conferees, the conference report to accompany H.R. 4348 can be considered by the full House and Senate. The current extension of transportation funding expires June 30th. (For the text of the conference report, click here.)
“Critical reforms in this legislation consolidate our transportation programs, significantly streamline the bureaucratic project process, encourage private sector participation in building infrastructure, and give states more flexibility to spend limited Highway Trust Fund resources where they are most needed,” Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica said in a written statement.
According to Mica, highlights of the measure include the following:
Streamlining the Project Delivery Process – Completing a major highway project can take 15 years, but only a fraction of that time involves actual construction. While projects navigate the approval process, construction costs escalate.
This measure streamlines the project approval process, adding much needed common sense and efficiency. Specifically, the measure:
Sets Deadlines: For slow-moving projects, the Secretary must set deadlines to make sure all approvals occur within 4 years, or agencies lose funding through an automatic rescission.
Sets NEPA Funding Threshold: Mandates a rulemaking to classify projects with a small amount of federal funding ($5 million) as a categorical exclusion.
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