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Bipartisan 6-year transportation bill introduced; builds on current MAP-21

A bill summary said that it will provide “long-term funding certainty for state and local governments to support multi-year transportation project investments.”

The Trucker Staff

5/13/2014

A bipartisan group of senators, members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, last night introduced a six-year transportation bill that they said “builds on the successes” of the previous MAP-21 funding.

The bill contains no tolling provisions, said a spokesman for the office of Sen. David Vitter, R-La., a ranking member of the Committee who helped introduce the bill along with Committee Chairman Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.

The bill reauthorizes the federal aid highway program at the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) baseline level (equal to current funding plus inflation) for six years, from fiscal 2015 through fiscal year 2020. It also maintains current formulas and increases the amounts each state will receive in each fiscal year.

It would establish a formula-based freight program, based on the current MAP-21 Senate-passed program, which would give funds to all states to improve their goods movement on key corridors; expand flexibility for rural and urban areas to designate key freight corridors that match regional goods movement on roads beyond the Primary Freight Highway Network; and attempts to better identify projects with a “high return on investment” through state freight plans and advisory committees set up under MAP-21.

Also included is new funding for projects of national or regional significance through a competitive grant program, with set-aside money for rural areas and “strong transparency provisions” and oversight by the DOT.

A bill summary said that it will provide “long-term funding certainty for state and local governments to support multi-year transportation project investments.”

The bill will be discussed by the committee beginning at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

The Vitter spokesman said funding is not included, that will still have to be hashed out by the Senate Finance Committee. “At least we got the ball rolling,” he said.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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