Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Senate EPW committee approves extension of highway funding

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
September 08, 2011

In what could be viewed as a prelude to President Obama’s speech tonight on jobs and the economy, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) said it unanimously approved the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012.

EPW officials said that this measure is focused on funding highway programs at current levels through January 30, 2012.

The previous six-year surface transportation authorization—the $286 billion SAFETEA-LU—expired on September 30, 2009 and has been kept afloat since then through a series of continuing resolutions.

“I am very pleased with the unanimous vote today,” said Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), EPW Chairman, in a statement. “I look forward to early action on the Senate floor. The EPW Committee has shown it can work together so that we can put people to work rebuilding the infrastructure of our nation.”

In July, EPW unveiled an outline for its take on new surface transportation legislation.
Entitled Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), this bipartisan proposal, led by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), EPW Chair, and James Inhofe, R-OK, is for a two-year bill, $109 billion bill that would keep funding at current levels that were intact SAFETEA-LU.

This 2-year bill would come at a cost of roughly $109 billion, whereas the House bill, led by T&I Committee Chair John Mica, is a six-year, $230 billion bill.

The EPW bill is comprised of various freight- and supply chain-related components, including:
-a National Freight Program that provides formula funds to states for projects to improve the movement of freight on highways, including freight intermodal connectors;
-a National Highway Performance Program that consolidates the Interstate Maintenance program, the National Highway System program and part of the Highway Bridge Program into a single program that focuses on the most critical 22,000 miles of roads in the country; and
-leveraging Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program to help communities leverage transportation resources through federal credit assistance and increase annual funding from $122 billion to $1 billion. TIFIA provides Federal credit assistance in the form of direct loans, loan guarantees, and standby lines of credit to finance surface transportation projects of national and regional significance.

This bill was positively received by Mort Downey, Coalitions for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) Chairman former deputy Transportation Secretary under President Clinton Mort Downey.
“The release of a framework for a Senate surface transportation bill is good news in a number of respects,” said Downey. “It represents solid bi-partisan agreement—a rare commodity in today’s Washington politics.  At a time of constrained resources, it sets a goal of retaining current investment levels.  And, from the point of view of CAGTC, it answers the call for dedicated investment into our freight network.  Lots of steps lie ahead—working out the resource issues with the Senate Finance Committee, incorporating input from other Senate groups including the Senate Commerce Committee, and getting to consensus with the House of Representatives against a firm deadline of September 30 when the existing taxes and programs expire.”

In a speech at the Rose Garden late last month, President Obama said that if surface transportation capital were to expire, it would impact thousands of American workers and millions of Americans who drive on the country’s roads and bridges every day.

“At the end of September, if Congress does not act, the transportation bill will expire,” said Obama. “This bill provides funding for highway construction, bridge repair, mass transit systems, and other essential projects to keep our people and our commerce moving quickly and safely. If we allow the transportation to bill to expire, over 4,000 workers will be immediately furloughed without pay. If it is delayed for just ten days, it will lose nearly $1 billion in highway funding; that is money we can never get back.”

The President added that it is inexcusable to let this bill expire and put more jobs at risk in an industry which has already been severely impacted.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

Last week, the United States Department of Transportation took further steps to address various issues identified in recent train accidents involving crude oil and ethanol shipped by rail. The announcement was made by DOT with other DOT agencies, including the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

Logistics Management Group News Editor Jeff Berman had an opportunity to interview Derek Leathers, President and Chief Operating Officer of Werner Enterprises, at this month's NASSTRAC Shippers Conference and Transportation Expo in Orlando. They discussed various aspects of the truckload market, including prices, fuel, and regulations.

During this webcast our presenters will apply the findings of the 23rd Annual Trends & Issues in Transportation and Logistics Study to the world of shipper-carrier decision making. They'll examine the primary aspects that will influence the future direction for shipper-carrier decision-making.

For February, the month for which most recent data is available, the SCI dropped to -1.0 from January’s 2.6, with FTR explaining that the short term positive impact from one-time adjustments for rapidly dropping diesel prices and the suspension of the 2013 motor carriers hours-of-service expires later this year.

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in March was up 1.1 percent on the heels of a revised 2.8 percent (from 3.1 percent) February decline, with the SA index at 133.5 (2000=100). This is off 0.3 percent from the all-time high for the SA of 135.8 from January 2015 and is up 5 percent annually.

Article Topics

News · Infrastructure · SAFETEA-LU · Obama · All topics

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA