Unanimous Committee Vote Advances Highway Funding Bill
The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously approved S.2322, the MAP-21 Reauthorization Act, which would reauthorize the nation's transportation programs for six years at current funding plus inflation.
Construction groups including the Associated General Contractors of America and the Laborers' International Union of North America applauded the progress of a six-year highway and infrastructure funding bill last week and are hoping it quickly passes the full U.S. Senate, after being unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. S. 2322, the MAP-21 Reauthorization Act, is co-sponsored by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who chairs the committee, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., its ranking member, Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., its ranking member.
Boxer said the committee's vote "sends a powerful signal to our colleagues and to our nation that we are serious about addressing the looming funding crisis in the Highway Trust Fund. I am proud of this strong, bipartisan bill that helps provide the certainty that all of our states and cities need to move forward with critical infrastructure and transportation projects."
"It's important to improve our nation's roads and bridges and help provide traffic relief, so we can carry out on daily routine, like picking up the kids from practice. Our nation's infrastructure needs attention and updates. Today's vote in the EPW Committee is a testament to the overwhelming bipartisan support of this urgently needed legislation," Vitter said.
The current highway funding bill, named the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), will expire on Sept. 30, and the Highway Trust Fund is projected to run out of funds this summer.
"We are planning an aggressive effort that will zero in on the consequences of inaction. Our multimedia campaign will start with a significant investment in provocative, hard-hitting billboards, radio ads, online tools, events, and activities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan," Terry O'Sullivan, general president of LIUNA, said in a statement after the committee passed the bill. "Another short-term patch, simply duct-taping the roads and bridges we all rely on, must be off the table. To put the trust back in the highway trust fund, we must prevent further deterioration. For LIUNA, passage of a highway bill is about jobs, but, as with every American, it's about ensuring the safety and reliability of our transportation system."