Senate EPW pushes highway bill release to Monday, announces Thursday markup


Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee; David Vitter (R-La.), EPW ranking member; Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Subcommittee; and John Barrasso (R-Wy.), T&I ranking member on Thursday announced that the committee will release the text of its new highway bill Monday and will mark up the bill Thursday of next week.

Boxer announced last week that she wanted to release the bill’s text this week, and our sister site, Commercial Carrier Journal, reports that the bill was expected to be released today.

The EPW Committee is slated to mark up the bill on Thursday at 10 a.m.

Boxer reiterated the committee’s previous announcement that a main focus of the bill would be a multi-year solution.

“This job-creating legislation provides the long-term funding certainty that states, cities, and businesses need while maintaining and improving the efficiency of the successful TIFIA program and establishing a formula-based freight program to improve the movement of goods on our surface transportation system,” Boxer said.

The current highway bill, MAP-21, will expire on September 30. However, the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) — the main source of funding for most state and local projects — is projected to run out of money this summer, at least one month before MAP-21 expires.

Vitter pointed to the need to fix the HTF.

“It’s time to restore trust in the Highway Trust Fund and to build and fix our nation’s roads and bridges so people can carry out their daily routines,” Vitter said. “We’ll remain focused on a long-term reauthorization bill that invests in rural areas, expands flexibility for state and local governments, and improves safety. And it’s incredibly important that we get projects streamlined and cut long bureaucratic waits.”

Carper added that the EPW bill is expected to boost job growth.

“Every American has a stake in this bill, which provides for more than 40 percent of all highway capital investments and a quarter of our public transit funding,” Carper said. “This legislation will give our governors, mayors, and other officials the certainty of long term funding they need to develop and improve our transportation infrastructure, aiding communities around the country. These investments also benefit private sector businesses of all types and sizes, helping them to create new jobs and better compete in the global economy.”