Transportation bill sent to US Congress

May 1, 2014

Legislation that would provide $302 billion for road and transit projects over four years was sent to Congress by the Obama administration.

The legislation would boost the highway fund $87 billion above current levels to generate more money for deficient bridges and aging transit systems.

Congressional transportation leaders in both parties have said they want to pursue six-year measures, though there is little consensus on how to finance the proposals. The Transportation Department has said the Highway Trust Fund — which relies on gasoline and diesel-fuel taxes — may not be able to meet its obligations as soon as this year. That risks leading states to slow or halt work in a recovering economy, Bloomberg Businessweek  reported.

National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA) Chairman Paul I. Detwiler III said the association welcomes the bill, adding that “it is essential that Congress act now.”

The bill, dubbed the Grow America Act, reflects President Obama’s four-year, $302 billion reauthorization proposal, Aggregates Manager reported.

Detwiler expressed that NSSGA wants to see swift action on the bill.

“We welcome the administration’s involvement in the reauthorization debate through introduction of a multi-year reauthorization bill,” Detwiler said in a written statement. “It is essential that Congress act now to address the funding crisis facing the Highway Trust Fund and then move to pass a multi-year reauthorization bill before expiration of the current law on Sept. 30.”

NSSGA President and CEO Mike Johnson said he commends Foxx and the administration creating a multi-year reauthorization bill.

“Funding to stabilize and provide future solvency to the Highway Trust Fund is essential,” Johnson said. “The provisions intended to further expedite permitting of projects and environmental reviews will also assist in moving forward many needed projects.“

Johnson also noted potential problems with the bill.

“However, we are somewhat concerned that the administration is relying on business tax reform to fund the bill,” Johnson continued. “While we support tax reform, it seems unlikely that Congress will be able to pass major tax legislation before the end of the year. There is broad agreement that an efficient and cost-effective surface transportation program is essential to economic growth, job creation and preserving America’s global competitiveness.”


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