Congress Passes Long-Awaited, 5-Year Transportation Bill
Last Thursday afternoon, on an overwhelmingly bipartisan 359 to 65 vote, the U.S. House passed a long-term transportation reauthorization bill that will increase funding for federal highway and transit programs. The U.S. Senate followed the House action with its own vote a few hours later. The bill passed the upper chamber on a bipartisan 83 to 16 vote and now awaits President Barack Obama’s signature.
The legislation, called the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, will not only provide $305 billion over the next five years to fund critical transportation infrastructure programs, it also:
- Reauthorizes the Export Import Bank’s charter through Sept. 20, 2019 while reducing the bank’s lending authority from $140 billion to $135 billion;
- Streamlines the permitting process for major infrastructure, energy, aviation, broadband and manufacturing projects in order to bring greater efficiency, transparency and accountability to the federal permitting review process; and
- Reauthorizes funding for Amtrak.