U.S. House Passes Six-Year Transportation Reauthorization Bill
The U.S. House successfully passed a six-year, $325 billion transportation reauthorization bill last Thursday, setting up a conference committee with the Senate. (The current reauthorization expires on Nov. 20.) H.R. 22, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act, also reauthorizes the Export-Import Bank; it passed the chamber on an overwhelming 363-64 vote. The bill includes several reforms, including:
- Efforts to streamline the environmental review of infrastructure projects;
- More flexibility for states; and
- Efforts to promote private infrastructure development.
While MSCI strongly supports passage of a long-term transportation bill, we are disappointed House members rejected an amendment offered by Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI) that would have given individual U.S. states the ability to determine whether to allow an increase in truck weight limits to 91,000 pounds. The chamber rejected the amendment, which MSCI and its partners at the Coalition for Transportation Productivity had supported, on a 187-236 vote. The House considered more than 100 amendments to the bill.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has detailed information about H.R. 22 on its website.
As a reminder, the Senate passed a long-term transportation bill this past summer. Leaders in the two chambers will now appoint lawmakers to a conference committee that will attempt to negotiate the differences between the two bills, including discrepancies about how to pay for the new spending. House and Senate leaders are still hopeful they can pass a long-term bill by the end of this year. If they cannot do so by Nov. 20, Congress will pass another short-term reauthorization.