Press Releases

Committee Leaders Introduce Surface Transportation Reauthorization & Reform Act

Washington, DC, October 20, 2015 | Jim Billimoria, Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446 | comments
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Transportation and Infrastructure Committee leaders today introduced the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 3763), a bipartisan, multi-year surface transportation bill to reauthorize and reform federal highway, transit, and highway safety programs.

The legislation helps improve the Nation’s surface transportation infrastructure, reforms programs and refocuses those programs on addressing national priorities, maintains a strong commitment to safety, and promotes innovation to make the system and programs work better.  The proposal is fiscally responsible, provides greater flexibility and more certainty for states and local governments to address their priorities, and accelerates project delivery.

The legislation also includes language bridging the House and Senate approaches to extending the deadline for U.S. railroads to implement Positive Train Control technology and preventing significant disruptions of both passenger and freight rail service across the country.

The measure was introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), and Highways and Transit Subcommittee Ranking Member Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).

“This is a bill that improves our roads, bridges, and transportation system, as well as our economy, our competitiveness, and our everyday lives,” Shuster said.  “The legislation streamlines, consolidates, and reforms transportation programs and offices, gives states and local governments more control in addressing their needs, refocuses on national transportation priorities, facilitates the flow of freight and commerce, and promotes innovation as we improve our infrastructure for the future.  The more efficient our surface transportation system is, the less time we spend in traffic, the lower the transportation costs for goods and services, and the more jobs that are created throughout the economy.”

“After several months of negotiations, I am pleased we are introducing today the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015,” DeFazio said.  “I want to thank Chairmen Shuster and Graves, and Ranking Member Norton for working with me to develop this bipartisan bill.  I look forward to working with them to get it passed through the House and to conference with the Senate as soon as possible.  Unfortunately, this bill doesn’t provide the level of investment needed to rebuild or repair our crumbling roads, bridges, highways and transit systems.  However, it includes a critical provision that would allow for automatic adjustments and increased investments if more money flows into the Highway Trust Fund than expected.  This is a step in the right direction.”

“From our economic wellbeing to the safety of every American citizen, an efficient national infrastructure system is critical to everything we do in this country,” Graves said.  “State and local governments have been forced to operate off of short-term extensions for too long.  That makes the already difficult job of maintaining our roadways and bridges nearly impossible.  We need a multi-year reauthorization that will allow us to invest in infrastructure, improve our roadways, and modernize America’s highway system.  This bipartisan bill will do just that.”

“This bill moves us from repetitive short-term extensions, which have halted most major work in states, to a bipartisan effort that acts as a building block for the funding the country needs to fix and improve our roads, bridges and transit systems,” said Norton.  “Chairman Shuster, Chairman Graves, Ranking Member DeFazio and I have worked together to achieve the most important part of this bill: the return of Congress to the six-year authorization that we know is necessary if states are to do the planning needed to revive our infrastructure.  By authorizing a six-year bill, our committee leaders and I are accepting the responsibility to do all we can to ensure that the states can rely on Congress in the end to fund it.”

The Committee is scheduled to mark up the legislation at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 22, 2015, in room 2167 Rayburn House Office Building.

Summary of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015

Improving Our Infrastructure

  • Provides certainty for state and local governments to undertake large-scale, complex transportation projects
  • Provides flexibility for states to invest in bridge rehabilitation and replacement
  • Eliminates red tape that slows down infrastructure improvements

    Reforms

  • Streamlines the environmental review and permitting process to accelerate project delivery
  • Provides more flexibility and decision-making to states and local governments to allow them to better address their priorities and needs
  • Eliminates and consolidates offices within the Department of Transportation
  • Establishes a National Surface Transportation and Innovative Finance Bureau to provide assistance to help state, local, and private sector partners move transportation projects forward
  • Overhauls federal truck and bus safety grant programs and rulemaking processes
  • Reforms truck and bus safety programs and eases administrative burdens on small businesses

    Refocusing on National Priorities

  • Facilitates commerce and the movement of goods by establishing a Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects Program
  • Provides flexibility to states to target driver safety grants on their pressing safety needs
  • Consolidates truck and bus safety grant programs and provides state flexibility on safety priorities

    Innovation

  • Promotes private investment in our surface transportation system
  • Promotes the deployment of transportation technologies and congestion management tools that support an efficient and safe surface transportation system for all
  • Updates federal research and transportation standards development to reflect the growth of technology in transportation
  • Encourages the installation of vehicle-to-infrastructure equipment to reduce congestion and improve safety
  • Improves truck and bus safety by accelerating the introduction of new transportation technologies 

    Additional information, including the text of the legislation and a more detailed bill summary, is available here.

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