House passes $56.66 billion Sandy relief package

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a $50.66 billion disaster aid package on Jan. 15 to respond to Superstorm Sandy, the largest new investment in transportation infrastructure since the 2009 economic stimulus program, reports the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) in a Jan. 15 Special Legislative Update.

The bill — offered by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) â€” has a $17 billion base to repay states and local governments for damage. It also  has an amendment by fellow appropriator Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) that added more than $33 billion to cover long-term construction projects to protect critical transport systems against future storms, according to the NSSGA.

The $105 billion Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), the two-year surface transportation reauthorization bill passed last summer, largely maintained federal road and transit spending at previous levels, whereas the relief package will be an injection of billions of dollars into new projects. It provides $2 billion for Departments of Transportation emergency aid fund for highways, according to the NSSGA report.