GMA members could see key action for road funding
U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), announced in a press release last week that he would be introducing the $325-billion Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform (STRR) Act of 2015 as a bi-partisan and long-term solution for funding U.S. transportation needs.
Co-authoring the bill are Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ohio), Sam Graves (R-Mo.), and Eleanor Norton (D-Wash., D.C.).
According to the release, the TI Committee has scheduled a markup of surface transportation reauthorization legislation for 10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, in room 2167 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The current patch for transportation funding that passed in July will end on Thursday, Oct. 29. Many interested observers—including more than two dozen members of the Geosynthetic Materials Association who will be on Capitol Hill Oct. 29— are awaiting either another short-term fix or the completion of a relatively longer-term solution such as this one from the U.S. House or the Senate’s DRIVE Act.
The 543-page STRR would authorize funding for six years (fiscal years 2016–2021) and sets aside about $270 billion for roads and $55 billion for transit programs.
The highway program would be appropriated at $243.3 billion:
- FY2016—$38.4 billion
- FY2017—$39.1 billion
- FY2018—$39.9 billion
- FY2019—$40.8 billion
- FY2020—$41.6 billion
- FY2021—$42.5 billion
In addition to providing money for roads, the House bill also is designed to encourage innovation within transportation projects by promoting private investment, the use of new technology and congestion management tools.
The House bill also includes language that would provide more autonomy over transportation projects to states and local governments, and includes provisions to streamlining the U.S. Department of Transportation bureaucracy.
“Our Nation’s economy depends on a safe, efficient surface transportation system, and one of the Transportation Committee’s priorities is to address the needs of the system,” Shuster said. “The Committee will move forward with the policy and authorization provisions of a bill to improve America’s surface transportation infrastructure, reform programs, refocus those programs on national priorities, provide more flexibility and certainty for state and local partners, and welcome innovation.”