House Approves Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill

Posted on: November 6th, 2015 by NADO Admin

This week, the U.S. of House of Representatives approved the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 3763) by a vote of 363 to 64.  The bill largely preserves the key elements of current law and maintains funding levels (adjusted for inflation) for federal highway, transit, and safety totaling $325 billion over six years.  Highlights of the bill include expanded funding for bridges off the National Highway System, a new program for nationally significant freight and highway projects, and an increase in the percentage of Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds to go to local communities (up from 50 percent under MAP-21 to 55 percent).

NADO and other local stakeholder groups supported an amendment submitted by Reps. Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Dina Titus (D-NV) designed to respond to the transportation needs of local areas and communities.  The Davis-Titus amendment would have increased the share of STP program funds to all local areas by 10 percent above the current share (up to 60 percent by 2021) and provided greater transparency on how states allocate STP funds to local areas with populations below 200,000. Unfortunately, the House Rules Committee did not make the amendment in order and it did not advance to the House floor for debate and consideration.

The Senate passed its bill, the DRIVE Act, in July.  The current extension of surface transportation programs expires on November 20.  House and Senate negotiators will be working on a compromise bill, but may have to pass another extension if they are unable to finalize a deal before that date.

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