Senate Transportation Bill Finally Passes

Enjoying bipartisan support, the Senate's two-year, $109 billion transportation and infrastructure bill was approved by a comfortable 74-22 vote margin this afternoon, reports Jonathan Weisman.

While far from the end of the surface transportation reauthorization saga, passage of the Senate bill, dubbed MAP-21, was an important milestone that now shifts pressure onto House Republicans in the face of the impending expiration of the current authorization bill at the end of the month.

According to Weisman, "The Senate bill...consolidates 196 federal transportation programs to about a dozen, while giving more flexibility to the states to decide transportation priorities. But it largely keeps the scope of federal highway, transit and other surface transportation projects intact." Writing in The Washington Post, Ashley Halsey III reports that the bill also, "gives states money for projects that ease congestion and air pollution, increases highway safety funding, cuts red tape that delays projects and expands a federal program that provides loans and loan guarantees that encourage private investment." D.C. Streetsblog, which has been on top of the transportation bill's ups and downs, promises more policy details later in the day. In the meantime, Transportation for America has provided a handy amendment tracker.

Critics content that the "gimmick" funding maneuvers used to bridge a nearly $10 billion funding gap merely delay reckoning with the key issue behind the Senate bill's relatively short term spending measure, the impending bankruptcy of the Highway Trust Fund.

Full Story: Senate Passes Transportation Bill, Putting Pressure on House

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
Book cover of Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Featuring thought-provoking commentary and insights from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.
$18.95
Book cover of Insider's Guide to Careers in Urban Planning

So you want to be a planner...

Check out our behind the scenes look at 25 careers in the Urban Planning field
Starting at $14.95