An Update from the U.S. Chamber's Transportation Team:
The U.S. Chamber congratulates House and Senate conference committee members for their commitment to negotiations and for their resolve in finding an equitable agreement to a long-term transportation reauthorization bill. This legislation will save thousands of jobs in construction and related industries in the near term through the combination of the levels of investment and through reforms that will stretch federal dollars further in highway, transit, and safety projects. Long-term, these investments will strengthen the nation's economy and spur economic growth. (Read the Chamber's statement on FreeEnterprise.com)
Following months of negotiations, Congress has before it legislation that includes landmark reforms that will greatly improve the business of transportation investment in this country. Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) will:
- Establish historic reforms to the project delivery process;
- Consolidate and simplify the federal program structure;
- Strengthen accountability and performance measures;
- Reduce duplicative and costly federal approval process for new Transit systems;
- Improve freight movement with targeted investment;
- Leverage federal resources through the TIFIA program to expand public private partnerships and private participation; and,
- Enhance the research, development and application of intelligent transportation technologies.
In terms of funding, while this legislation does not return programs to the funding high water mark of FY 2011, it provides funding certainty through 2014 for much-needed investment.
Tell your members of Congress to vote YES for landmark reforms and much-needed funding certainty: Take Action and Write your Members of Congress Today!
It is time for Congress to take the final step and finish this transportation bill.
Here's yet another reason:
Yesterday, FreeEnterprise.com welcomed a guest column by Stu Levenick, Group President of Caterpillar, Inc. highlighting how states, local governments and private interests have struggled to maintain existing highways, bridges and transit systems and to keep new projects afloat through the sputtering stops and starts of short-term extensions. With this conference agreement, Congress can drive highway, transit and safety program reauthorization over the finish line. Reauthorization of these programs will help provide needed stability for states, contractors, and others so they are able to make critical long term capital investments. In turn, these investments will help boost the economy in the near-term and in the long-term help ensure our transportation networks can efficiently deliver increasing U.S. exports which are critical to future economic growth.
Click here to send a letter to your members of Congress urging their support of the final conference committee measure that will reform our outdated highway and transit programs and restore certainty for our nation's job creators.
In particular, the Chamber is very encouraged with the significant reforms this bill would provide for project delivery and environmental streamlining by reducing bureaucracy and red tape, eliminating duplicative and time-consuming environmental reviews for capacity expansion projects on existing roads and bridges, allowing for early right-of-way acquisitions, expanding the use of innovative contracting methods, firmly encouraging early coordination between relevant agencies to avoid delays later in the review process with deadlines and stiff penalties for non-compliance, "defederalizing " projects with minimal federal funding, consolidating environmental documentation, and strengthening dispute resolution procedures.