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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Obama signs FAST Act


President Obama late last week signed into law the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act (H.R. 22), a five-year, $305 billion bill that is the first long-term surface transportation legislation passed by Congress in 10 years.

"The good news is that the long winter of uncertainty for state DOTs has come to an end," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx wrote in the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fast Lane blog. "Under the Act, funding will go up by roughly 11 percent over five years."

Included in the bill is an unprecedented $10.8 billion in dedicated freight infrastructure funding, according to the Coalition for America's Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC).

Over five years, the new legislation will distribute $4.5 billion through a freight-specific competitive grant program and $6.3 billion through a freight formula program.

"The FAST Act reflects many of the CAGTC’s long-held positions, including a minimum annual investment of $2 billion dedicated to freight infrastructure," said Elaine Nessle, CAGTC's executive director, in a press release.

The measure also will provide $61 billion for the nation's public transportation systems, noted the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

"As the first long-term surface transportation bill in 10 years, the significance of this legislation cannot be overstated," said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy in a press release. "A well-funded, long-term surface transportation authorization is critical to the economic competitiveness and prosperity of our nation's communities. To sum it up, wherever public transportation goes, community grows."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/7/2015