Moments ago, the U.S. House and Senate Surface Transportation Authorization Conference Committee produced a final conference report that provides five years of federal highway and transit funding at increased levels. This was the result that ASCE had previously publicly called for. The final bill provides nearly $233 billion for highway programs, $49 billion for transit programs and the bill also contains a $10 billion federal railroad section.
The new House and Senate compromise bill, named the FAST Act (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation), contains sound polices that aim to improve roadway safety, streamline the environmental review and permitting process, and enhance the level of private-sector investment in surface transportation projects. Of note, the bill:
- Creates a dedicated $1.5 billion freight program to help ensure federal investments are targeted at improving U.S. economic competitiveness and provides another $800 million per year for nationally significant freight and highway projects;
- Maintains a TIFIA program at around $300 million annually that can help leverage billions of dollars in private sector capital for investment in our nation’s infrastructure;
- Improves innovation, in part by providing performance management data support and establishing a national program to explore surface transportation funding alternatives to the fuels tax; and
- Invests in transit by creating a new research and deployment program, increasing funds for fixed guideways, and establishing a new bus facility program.
Your help is now needed to urge your members of Congress to vote YES on the conference report when it is up for a vote in the coming days. The House and Senate are looking to move quickly to pass this bill before the looming December 4 deadline.
Please take a moment and click here to email your Representative and Senators and urge their support for a long-term program with increased investment. This increased investment will help address construction and maintenance backlogs while creating jobs and growing the economy. The finish line is in sight. Please help us get there. Thank you for your help!