Tag Archive for 'FAST Act'

ARTBA Issues Statement on House Passage of Infrastructure Bill

American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President & CEO Dave Bauer issued the following statement about House passage of the Moving Forward Act:
 
“The nation’s economic recovery post-coronavirus would receive a huge long-term boost with the passage of a robust surface transportation investment bill.
 
“We commend the House for taking a positive step in that direction with its July 1 approval of The Moving Forward Act.
 
“The last thing states need during tumultuous times is more uncertainty about their share of federal highway and public transit funding.  Short-term program extensions are not the solution and would only add insult to injury.
 
“We urge the Senate to move forward quickly on its version of a multi-year reauthorization bill.  Final bicameral action is imperative before the current FAST Act law expires Sept. 30.”
 
 
The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) brings together all facets of the transportation construction industry to responsibly advocate for infrastructure investment and policy that meet the nation’s need for safe and efficient travel.  ARTBA also offers value-added programs and services providing its members with a competitive edge.

For more information visit: www.artba.org
 

ARTBA Issues Statement on House “INVEST in America” Act

The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee has released the “INVEST in America Act,” a surface transportation legislative proposal that calls for spending $494 billion over five-years to repair the nation’s roads, bridges, rail and public transportation systems. Please attribute the following statement to American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President and CEO Dave Bauer.
 
“If America can put astronauts back in space for the first time in nearly a decade with a little help from the private sector, surely we can do something similar to modernize our aging transportation network.
 
“With the most severe economic disruption since the Great Depression and continuity of state transportation improvement programs in doubt, the case for Congress to deliver a robustly funded infrastructure bill has never been stronger.  
 
“The transportation construction industry, in partnership with public agency officials, is ready to rebuild the nation’s highways, bridges and public transit systems.
 
“The release of the House bill complements efforts already underway in the Senate.  The FAST Act transportation law expires in less than 120 days.  It’s time to hit the gas on the legislative process to ensure that infrastructure investment springboards economic recovery.”
 
Established in 1902 and with more than 8,000 public and private sector members, the Washington, D.C.-based ARTBA advocates for strong investment in transportation infrastructure to meet the public and business community demand for safe and efficient travel.
 For more information visit www.artba.org

ARTBA on: Final FY 2020 Spending Bill Ready for President’s Signature

By Dean Franks, senior vice president, congressional relations, ARTBA

The Senate Dec. 19 passed 71-23 an eight-bill omnibus appropriations package, the next-to-last step to enactment of a full-year FY 2020 transportation spending law. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill into law before the midnight Dec. 20 expiration of the temporary measure now funding government programs.

The package fully-funds the FAST Act authorized spending for all Highway Trust Fund-supported programs and adds an additional $4.08 billion for surface transportation and airport improvements from the General Fund that were not previously authorized. The supplemental investment includes:

  • $2.17 billion for highways;
  • $400 million for airport capital projects;
  • $510 million for bus and transit program grants; and
  • $1 billion for BUILD (formerly known as TIGER) multi-modal surface transportation discretionary grants.

Full details in the chart below.

The expected enactment of the full fiscal year spending bills marks the first time in five years state departments of transportation will have their full spending authority prior to Jan. 1. The finalization of the appropriations and the repeal of the contract authority rescission in November mark an eventful end of year for federal transportation investment.

With these accomplishments complete, and other non-related major legislation also in the rear-view mirror, there is a clear path for Congress to tackle bipartisan measures post-impeachment.

ARTBA Washington Update: Congress Avoids Shutdown & Repeals $7.6 Billion Contract Authority Rescission

Dean Franks, senior vice president of congressional relations, ARTBA

This week Congress passed, and President Donald Trump signed, a Continuing Resolution (CR) that keeps all discretionary government programs funded through Dec. 20. The legislation includes a full repeal of the $7.6 billion Contract Authority rescission that was set to take effect July 1.

The repeal of this rescission, authorized as part of the FAST Act surface transportation law, has been a priority for ARTBA and state DOTs for years. The rescission was a budgetary gimmick included by some members of the House Republican leadership as an attempt to make the FAST Act’s investment increases appear temporary by resetting and lowering the baseline for the surface transportation programs going into the next authorization law as the FAST Act winds down.

ARTBA, AASHTO, and other industry allies have worked to repeal the rescission because it could impede the states’ flexibility in utilizing federal-aid highway funds, especially going into the 2020 construction season. The ARTBA co-chaired Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) sent a Nov. 15 letter to congressional leaders advocating for repeal of the rescission. A similar Nov. 14 letter signed by 42 national groups, including ARTBA, also called for the repeal.

Thanks are in order to the numerous members of Congress who advocated for the repeal, including Senate Environment & Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.), who introduced legislation (S. 1992) to repeal the rescission which, as of Nov. 22, had 60 co-sponsors. A Nov. 14 letter lead by Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) and Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) signed by over 100 of their colleagues also called for rescission repeal.

Regarding FY 2020 spending, the CR funds all relevant transportation programs at FY 2019 authorized levels. The House vote was 231-192 and the Senate approved 74-20. The president signed the measure only hours before the Nov. 21 expiration of an earlier CR.

A full-year transportation appropriations bill is still pending. The House and Senate have passed their versions of FY 2020 transportation bills.

ARTBA understands congressional negotiators are close to reaching agreement on spending levels for each of the 12 appropriations subcommittees, which will allow for the bills to move forward. ARTBA will continue working with members and staff on Capitol Hill, and partner organizations, to ensure a final, FY 2020 bill is enacted before Dec. 20.

As Summer fades

By Greg Sitek

It’s hard to believe that Summer 2019 is fading into history. We are one step closer to a new transportation bill as theSenate’s America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA) Committee on July 30 unanimously approved the America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA), legislation introduced July 29 by EPW Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.), Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee Chairman Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Md).  If enacted, the measure would significantly increase funds for highway and bridge improvements from FY 2021 through FY 2025.

According to reports from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, ARTBA, “The Senate proposal represents the first program reauthorization bill in nearly 15 years that would significantly increase federal investment in highway safety and mobility improvements.

“The committee’s early action is a critical first step in the lengthy legislative process.  It’s also a welcome departure from the series of extensions and years of delay that have plagued the last few surface transportation bills.

“We urge the Senate Commerce, Banking and Finance Committees to take timely action early this fall on their respective policy and financing components of the measure.  Final passage of a bill this year provides a meaningful opportunity for members of Congress and the Trump administration to deliver on the infrastructure investment promise they have been making since the 2016 elections.”

The current FAST Act highway and transit investment law expire Sept. 30, 2020.

There have been reports from Washington that Senate is anxious to have the ATIA passed this year. In some of the articles, I’ve read a target date as early as this September has been suggested. Hopefully, it will get through Congress faster than the FAST Act.

In addition to transportation infrastructure getting attention, the Trump administration recently  announced three regulatory measures with significant impact for highway and heavy construction:

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration published a request for information asking the regulated community to help clarify various aspects of the crystalline silica rule.
  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released proposed changes to the federal Hours of Service (HOS) rules, which govern the amount of time truck drivers can spend on the road.
  • An overhaul of the Endangered Species Act includes new limits to where the government can block development by declaring land as “critical habitat.”

“These three developments highlight the administration’s continued focus on removing unnecessary regulatory burdens from the project delivery process,” said ARTBA Vice President of Regulatory & Legal Issues Nick Goldstein. “ARTBA will continue to work with federal agencies to keep advancing beneficial regulatory reforms.”

ARTBA also expects in the coming weeks to hear from the U.S. Department of Transportation about the potential repeal of a federal regulation that prohibits state and local governments from using patented or proprietary products on highway and bridge projects that receive federal funding unless those products qualify for limited exceptions. The rule was adopted in 1916 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which then managed the emerging federal-aid highway program.

To address the transportation problems on the local level, there will be higher taxes in some states: The fuel price news will be compounded in a handful of states where excise taxes where hiked just as folks were finalizing their July 4th travel plans.

Drivers in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont and along one major highway in Virginia will pay more for fuel, primarily gasoline, due to tax increases that took effect on July 1, 2019the start of their fiscal years.

Some were already in the works as phased-in incremental fuel tax hikes. Others are new, large bumps in the fuels’ prices. And a few apply to vehicles that run on diesel instead of gasoline. (Dontmesswithtaxes.com)

This fall could prove to be “legislatively interesting.” You will want to keep informed.