House passes measure that would extend surface transportation funding

Earlier today, the House of Representatives approved legislation that would continue to fund federal highway, transit, and highway safety and Federal Aviation Administration programs at current levels.

By ·

Earlier today, the House of Representatives approved legislation that would continue to fund federal highway, transit, and highway safety and Federal Aviation Administration programs at current levels.

This follows tense last minute negotiations from earlier this summer to keep the FAA afloat and an ongoing struggle to enact a new long-term surface transportation reauthorization, which, if this measure passes, will have been extended eight times since SAFETEA-LU expired in September 2009.

“While this legislation signifies a bipartisan, bicameral agreement to move forward, it must not be just a temporary band-aid for our important aviation, highway, rail and safety programs and for job creation,” said House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL) in a statement. “To build our nation’s infrastructure and put people to work, we need long-term authorizations of these programs.  Unfortunately, this bill is the 22nd FAA extension and the 8th surface transportation extension.  Congress has delayed passing a long-term FAA bill for over four years, and a surface transportation bill for two years.  This action represents a last chance to roll up our sleeves and get transportation projects in America moving again.”

Last week, 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.

Investing in transportation and infrastructure was also a key driver of President Obama’s speech to Congress last week in which he called on Congress to pass his “American Jobs Act” Legislation.

In his speech, Obama wasted little time explaining current state of transportation infrastructure in the United States.

“Everyone here knows we have badly decaying roads and bridges all over the country,” he said. “Our highways are clogged with traffic.  Our skies are the most congested in the world.  It’s an outrage.” 

He went on to say that building a world class transportation system is what made the U.S. an economic superpower, while other countries like China are now building newer airports and faster railroads at a time when millions of unemployed construction workers could build them right here in America.

In pushing the urgent need for more infrastructure spending, the bill would call for $50 billion to be allocated for transportation spending—including highway, public transit, intercity rail, and aviation systems—and $10 billion for an infrastructure bank, which he has pushed for multiple times during his term as president.

About the Author

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. Contact Jeff Berman

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!

Latest Whitepaper
Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) / Inventory Management Technology: 6 Trends for the Modern Age
Here’s how the next generation of warehouse and inventory management systems are evolving to help logistics operations operate more efficiently and improve their bottom lines in our brave, new digital age.
Download Today!
From the March 2018 Logistics Management Magazine Issue
We know e-commerce is reshaping logistics, but what are the technologies savvy managers can leverage to meet evolving requirements and shifting operational constraints? We’ve rounded up insights from leading analysts to share tools that are available now as well as what’s on the horizon.
Reverse Logistics in the “Age of Entitlement”
Logistics Management’s Viewpoint on E-commerce: Leveraging available tools
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Securing IoT data across the connected supply chain
Learn why a holistic approach to IAM is the most effective way to govern access to your systems and information requested by your partners, vendors, customers, and connected devices.
Register Today!
Evolution of E-commerce: The possibilities of tomorrow
We know e-commerce is reshaping logistics, but what are the technologies savvy managers can leverage...
State of Global Logistics: Delivering above and beyond
Industry experts agree that costs across all sectors worldwide will continue to rise in 2018, and...

2018 Rate Outlook: Economic Expansion, Pushing Rates Skyward
Trade and transport analysts see rates rising across all modes in accordance with continued...
Building the NextGen Supply Chain: Keeping pace with the digital economy
Peerless Media’s 2017 Virtual Summit shows how creating a data-rich ecosystem can eliminate...