- Equipment World - http://www.equipmentworld.com -

House approves 7-month extension of SAFETEA-LU

Posted By Equipment World Staff On March 3, 2011 @ 1:45 pm In Construction News | No Comments

The House of Representatives voted 421-4 on March 2 to extend until Sept. 30 federal highway and transit programs that are slated to expire on March 4.

The bill — the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011, or H.R. 662 — will now go to the Senate.

The current federal surface transportation legislation, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), expired Sept. 30, 2009. It has since been extended with short-term measures, but a long-term reauthorization has not yet occurred. SAFETEA-LU’s predecessor bill, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, or TEA-21, was extended 12 times before SAFETEA-LU was passed.

H.R. 662 would set the total obligation limitation levels for transportation funding at $52.7 billion for FY 2011. The obligation authority consists of $42.46 billion for highway funding and $10.33 billion for mass transit funding. The level of obligation authority is the same as FY 2010.

H.R. 662 would set the total obligation limitation levels for transportation funding at $52.7 billion for FY 2011.  The obligation authority consists of $42.46 billion for highway funding and $10.33 billion for mass transit funding.  The level of obligation authority is the same as FY 2010.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) note that the vote came one day after the organization sent a letter to all members of Congress urging “a swift adoption” of the measure. The full text of the letter is available at bit.ly/Horsley030111 [1].

“While AASHTO continues to support congressional efforts to enact a well-funded, long-term surface transportation bill, the absence of such a bill makes this extension essential to creating and sustaining jobs and maintaining America’s transportation infrastructure,” wrote AASHTO Executive Director John Horsley in the letter to Congress. “Furthermore, this extension provides much needed certainty for the construction industry, states, and localities as they begin the 2011 construction season.” (For a story from the AASHTO Journal about the measure [2], click here.)

The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) also sent a letter to Congress urging for an extension. However, NSSGA points out that passing a longer extension “is essential for states to continue funding of projects and for business planning and resource allocation, particularly when the construction sector has an unemployment level twice the national average.”

“Our members are the crushed stone, sand, and gravel operations in almost every congressional

district in the country and the principle suppliers of the materials used to build and rehabilitate

our nation’s highways, roads, and bridges,” said Jennifer Joy Wilson, president and CEO of NSSGA, in the letter to Congress.

“For the aggregates industry, the passage of five short-term extensions since the expiration of SAFETEA-LU on Sept. 30, 2009, has had a devastating impact. The lack of certainty in the federal highway market is preventing states and local governments from advancing highway projects. Because our industry makes capital investment and human resource decisions based on projections about the direction of the highway construction market over the long term, a drawn out approach involving short-term extensions depresses the construction sector further.” (For the full text of NSSGA’s letter to Congress, click here [3].) –Tina Grady Barbaccia


Article printed from Equipment World: http://www.equipmentworld.com

URL to article: http://www.equipmentworld.com/house-approves-7-month-extension-of-safetea-lu/

URLs in this post:

[1] bit.ly/Horsley030111: http://bit.ly/Horsley030111

[2] ASHTO Journal about the measure: http://www.equipmentworld.comwww.aashtojournal.org/Pages/030211extension.aspx.

[3] For the full text of NSSGA’s letter to Congress, click here: http://www.nssga.org/communications/support.pdf.

Copyright © 2012 Equipment World -- Development. All rights reserved.