House, Senate pass $105 billion, two-year transportation bill

The House and Senate on June 29 passed a new two-year $105 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), the AASHTO Journal reports. The measure, H.R. 4348, passed the House 373-52, just before the June 30 expiration of the ninth extension of SAFETEA-LU. The Senate passed the bill 74-19, according to the AASHTO Journal report.

Kirk Steudle, Michigan Department of Transportation director and AASHTO president, is lauding “the leadership” of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) “for encouraging agreement on a bipartisan bill that will bring us 27 months of much needed funding certainty and program stability,” according to report.

In an official statement after the measure passed the House and Senate, Boehner said: “This bill is far from perfect, but it is a substantial improvement over the original Senate highway bill and I’d like to thank Chairman Mica and our negotiators for all their hard work in making this agreement happen.” 

Lisa Carson, marketing manager for KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens, echoed these sentiments. Carson also noted that the “measure is far from perfect,” [but] it gives our contractors and dealers the stability they need to continue their operations and provide jobs to millions of Americans. As an American manufacturer, we know that this bill will help stimulate equipment sales, which will be used to fix our crumbling roads and bridges.”

Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee calls the bill “the jobs bill for the 112th Congress.” Mica says, “The unprecedented reforms in this legislation — cutting red tape, truly making projects ‘shovel ready,’ shrinking the size of the federal bureaucracy, attracting more private sector participation, and giving states more flexibility to address their critical priorities — will ensure that we more effectively move forward with major highway and bridge improvements and put Americans back to work.”