Better Roads

September 2014

Better Roads Digital Magazine

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 21 of 35

Special Report: Funding 20 September 2014 Better Roads an additional $87 billion to address the nation's backlog of deficient bridges and aging transit systems; Create millions of new jobs to ensure America's future competitiveness; Increase safety across all modes of surface transportation, including increasing the civil penalties the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) can levy against auto- makers who fail to act quickly on vehicle recalls; Provide certainty to state and local governments that must engage in long-term planning; Reduce project approval and permitting timelines while delivering better outcomes for communities and the environ- ment; Bolster efficient and reliable freight networks to support trade and economic growth; and Create incentives to better align planning and investment decisions to co "Failing to act before the Highway Trust Fund runs out is unacceptable – and unaffordable," Foxx said in a written statement. "This proposal offers the kind of job creation and certainty that the American people want and deserve." The bill would never pass Congress. May 2014 Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimous- ly approved a six-year surface transportation reauthorization bill. Dubbed the MAP-21 Reauthorization Act ( senate-epw-releases-map-21-reauthorization-act), the six-year bill planned to reauthorize surface transportation projects through fiscal year 2020 and was indexed for inflation. Under the bill's provisions, the core highway program would get a nearly $4 billion boost, from $38.44 billion in 2015 to $42.59 billion in 2020. There were not enough supporters of the bill to ever pass Congress. Some people, like Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, didn't think the bill was large enough. "I just spent the better part of a week going to eight states, 12 cities large and small," Foxx said, referring to his April bus tour. "And I have to tell you that America has been waiting on a bigger solution." June 2014 With the current Highway Trust Fund quickly running dry, people started to scramble for a solution. One idea was to ( highway-trust-fund-solution-plan-would-remove-gas-tax) repeal the federal gas tax in favor of other funding options like taxing oil barrels and indexing the diesel tax to inflation and fleet fuel economy. Another plan was to cut some services offered by the U.S. Postal Service and use the savings over 10 years to make up for the fuel tax shortfall. Both proposals were dismissed. "We've got to get past the gimmicks in transportation and really get serious about trying to get a long-term strategy done," Foxx said. With hopes of a long-term deal, the Senate decided to delay voting on a proposed $9 billion patch ( offers-short-term-patch-for-transportation-funding) that would have provided funding through December. The month of June saw other proposals as well, most of which caused for a gas tax increase. None of them were seriously considered. July 2014 July marks the month when Congress finally started to seri- ously look for a solution. After all, several states were found to be in dire need of highway funding ( in-dire-need-of-highway-trust-fund). With no long-term deal in sight, the House and the Senate focused on finding a short- term solution. In mid-July, the House passed a $10.8 billion plan (better- to pay for the federal government's share of road and bridge repairs through May. On July 30th the Senate would reject the House's bill and respond with of its own. The Senate reduced the bill from $10.8 billion to $8.1 billion and sent it back to the House. With Congress' summer recess beginning on August 1st it was important for an agreement to be in place as soon as possible. The next day, on July 31st, the House voted down the Sen- ate's revised bill and sent back its original $10.8 billion bill ( situation-for-senate). Just hours after the House turned down the Senate's $8.1 billion bill, Congress passed the $10.8 billion bill and sent it to be signed by President Barack Obama. The bill should allow continued funding for road, highway and bridge construction through May 2015.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Better Roads - September 2014