The U.S. House of Representatives approved a major transportation bill by a vote of 373 to 52. The bill also cleared the Senate 74 to 19. “This measure includes historic reforms – cutting red tape and consolidating or eliminating nearly 70 federal programs,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica. The unprecedented reforms in the transportation bill will streamline the lengthy project approval process, consolidate or eliminate federal programs, and ensure that states have more flexibility to direct limited resources to high-priority needs.
“This bill will provide a major boost to our economy by putting Americans back to work building our nation’s bridges and highways,” Mica said. “‘Shovel ready’ became a national joke because projects get bogged down for years in the wasteful, bureaucratic project review process. The dramatic reforms in this measure will get projects moving by cutting the red tape that delays projects across the country and drives up construction costs.”
The bipartisan, bicameral conference report to H.R. 4348 will fund federal highway, transit and highway safety programs at current funding levels through the end of fiscal year 2014, allowing states to plan and undertake major transportation improvements. The President is expected to sign the bill soon. An extension of the last transportation law expires tomorrow, June 30th.
Autodesk CEO Carl Bass commented on the passage of the bill. “I applaud Congress for working tirelessly to reach a compromise on the surface transportation reauthorization legislation,” he said. “Our infrastructure is in dire need of repair, and this bill will allow us to transform our roadways, bridges, transit systems and other assets to meet the demands of our 21st Century economy. Most importantly, the passing of the transportation bill provides a much-needed boost to our economy. Critical projects that can now commence will put countless Americans back to work. I commend Congress for recognizing the need to act on transportation—this investment in our future will pay tremendous dividends.”