Better Roads Staff
• clarifies authority for programmatic approaches (rather than project-by-project reviews).
This House proposal aims to reform surface transportation programs by consolidating or eliminating approximately 70 programs that are duplicative or do not serve a federal purpose.
Rather than applying spending cuts evenly across all existing programs, this proposal identifies programs that serve similar purposes. The proposal also identifies programs that do not serve a federal interest – such as the National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program and the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program – and eliminates them.
States will no longer be required to spend highway funding on nonhighway activities. States will be permitted to fund such activities if they choose, but they will be provided the flexibility to identify and address their most critical infrastructure needs. However, this additional flexibility will not be unchecked. States will be held accountable for their spending decisions through new performance measures and transparency requirements.
Many of the programs that will be consolidated or eliminated in this proposal were created during a period when it was common to spend more than was collected in transportation revenue.
The Senate version’s key reform proposal:
• consolidates 87 programs under SAFETEA-LU into less than 30. States will have flexibility to fund activities for which dedicated funding has been removed;
• consolidates the Interstate Maintenance Program, the National Highway System Program and part of the Highway Bridge Program into a single program that focuses on the most critical 222,000 miles of roads in the nation;
• consolidates several existing programs to provide funds to states for projects on all Federal-aid highways, and all bridges and tunnels;
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