House continues to seek funding for long-term transportation bill

The U.S. House of Representatives’ six-year surface transportation bill allotting $325 billion in spending on transit, roads and bridges was marked up in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Thursday.

The Surface Transportation Reauthorization & Reform Act of 2015 for large-scale, complex transportation projects would continue funding close to current levels — plus inflation — maintaining an 80/20 spending ratio between roads and bus/rail systems. The measure would make programmatic changes to enhance efficiency in state grant applications as well as stimulate the use of technology to improve system performance.

The Senate’s long-term bill, the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act, passed July 30 before Congress had to issue an extension. Much like the DRIVE Act, the House’s proposal would restore some long-term certainty for the U.S. construction industry. However, the new legislation is hindered by the same issue that has plagued the debate surrounding reauthorization for years: finding the money.

According to Associated Equipment Distributors (AED), an Illinois-based international trade association, Capitol Hill staffers estimate that only $160 billion is available for the bill, leaving the six-year authorization with only three years’ worth of funding. If enacted, the legislation would require the remaining amount to be “unlocked” in the future.

Stating that it is unlikely to reach approval prior to the highway program’s current expiration date of Thursday, AED urges constituents to appeal to their legislators to save the federal highway program.

AED represents companies that distribute, rent and support equipment for construction, mining, forestry, power generation, agriculture and industrial uses.

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Associated Equipment Distributors

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