Reauthorization — actual progress

| December 5, 2011

Maybe, just maybe, we have some progress, maybe even some momentum.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has oh so recently announced its two-year surface transportation bill proposal, (see my blog post, “Is this it? Or something like it?” for full proposal details), and now, in a unanimous vote , has approved the proposal. On it moves in the legislative process.

How the Senate’s two-year bill will find a way to work with the House’s push for a six-year bill is to be worked out. And how the Senate hopes to keep spending levels as they are now when the Highway Trust Fund can’t do that is also still to be worked out.

But now both House and Senate are moving forward toward a new bill, the Senate, critically, in a bi-partisan manner. And their versions are not so far apart. They agree on reforms and are not actually in separate worlds on funding levels. It may be a little unfair, but I’ll still ask “What took you so long?”

John Horsley, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), commended the committee for supporting the principle that existing levels of highway investment should be preserved.

“We particularly appreciate the unanimous, bipartisan vote to move the bill forward,” Horsley said. “We agree with the objectives outlined in the MAP-21 legislation to help ensure accountability and stewardship of federal surface transportation investments, improve the efficiency of the regulatory review process for transportation improvements, and leverage private-sector resources through an expanded TIFIA program.”

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