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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Congress passes major surface transportation bill

Today, the House and Senate passed a major, two-year surface transportation reauthorization bill (H.R. 4348).

The bill now is on its way to President Obama for his signature.

“This measure includes historic reforms — cutting red tape and consolidating or eliminating nearly 70 federal programs,” said Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, in a prepared statement.

The bipartisan legislation would fund federal highway, transit and safety programs at current funding levels through the end of fiscal-year 2014, which would allow states to plan and undertake transportation projects.

“The average highway project in the United States takes 15 years from concept to completion, far more than any other developed nation,” said John Duncan (R-Tenn.), chairman of the House Highways and Transit Subcommittee. “We have got to cut the red tape and speed up these projects. This bill goes further in streamlining environmental rules and regulations than any previous highway bill.”

The new bill is the first major surface transportation law approved by Congress since the SAFETEA-LU Act of 2005 expired in 2009. The latest extension to SAFETEA-LU expires tomorrow.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/29/2012