Foxx Praises Transportation Bill's Signing

The new law authorizes DOT to prohibit rental car companies from knowingly renting vehicles that are subject to safety recalls and raised maximum fines against non-compliant auto manufactures to $105 million, the secretary noted.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx praised the newly signed FAST Act, a new surface transportation law that authorizes DOT to prohibit rental car companies from knowingly renting vehicles that are subject to safety recalls and raised maximum fines against non-compliant auto manufactures to $105 million, the secretary noted.

President Obama signed it Dec. 4.

In a post that day on DOT's Fast Lane blog, Foxx wrote that, when he became secretary in July 2013, "it had been more than eight years since Congress had passed a long-term surface transportation bill, and my efforts to push hard for a long term bill began immediately.

"The good news is that the long winter of uncertainty for state DOTs has come to an end," Foxx continued. "The FAST Act also takes the important step of increasing funding. Under the Act funding will go up by roughly 11 percent over five years. This is a down-payment for building a 21st century transportation system, though it is still far short of the amount needed to reduce congestion on our roads and meet the increasing demands on our transportation systems." However, the bill DOT proposed, the GROW AMERICA Act, would have boosted funding by 45 percent, he wrote.

The FAST Act does contain many of DOT's proposals. "Rental car companies will be prohibited from renting vehicles that are subject to safety recalls. The maximum civil penalty we can assess against auto manufacturers for jeopardizing public safety has more than tripled. Congress also provided critical funding we asked for to enable commuter railroads to install safety technology known as Positive Train Control that could have prevented recent accidents. That said, we also know the bill took a number of steps backward in terms of USDOT's ability to share data with the public and our ability to exercise aggressive oversight over our regulated industries," Foxx wrote. "I thank the President for supporting the Department's efforts to help Congress get a bill across the goal line. I thank Congress for the demonstration of bipartisanship it took to pass this legislation and for adopting some important provisions from the GROW AMERICA Act. And I want to thank the many stakeholder organizations and everyday citizens who never let up in their calls for action. . . . We did not get everything we asked for, but we've made it. And while the FAST Act is not perfect, it reflects the bipartisan compromise I always knew was possible."

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