April 17, 2012
Just two days before the latest extension of the current highway bill — Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA–LU) — was set to expire, the House and Senate on March 29 approved a 90-day extension of the federal highway funding.
(For a more in-depth article, see the full story when in the May 2012 print or digital (www.aggman.com/digital) edition of Aggregates Manager.)
At Aggregates Manager press time, the measure, H.R 4281, was being sent to President Obama for his signature. This measure extends the current funding for road and transit projects until June 30, making this the ninth extension of SAFETEA-LU. The original bill expired on Sept. 30, 2009. SAFETEA-LU’s predecessor, The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), enacted on Aug. 10, 2005, underwent 12 extensions throughout a two-year period.
“While we supported the extension approved today to prevent a shutdown of essential infrastructure improvements across the nation, that support should not be confused as acceptance of inaction on a multi-year reauthorization bill,” Transportation Construction Coalition Co-Chairs T. Peter Ruane, president and CEO of American Road & Transportation Builders Association, and Stephen Sandherr, CEO of Associated General Contractors of America, said in a joint statement just hours after the extension passed.
“Our members are growing increasingly frustrated that Congress seems incapable of passing critical legislation that improves the flow of commerce and promotes economic growth,” Ruane and Sandherr continued in the statement. “The construction industry continues to suffer from chronic unemployment, and the continued delay in enacting a longer term bill prohibits them from expanding their workforces and investing in new equipment.”