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Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation

11/7/2011



Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Sens. Boxer, Inhofe, Baucus and Vitter release surface transportation bill; Boehner calls for linking energy production to infrastructure


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On Friday, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, along with Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and David Vitter (R-La.), released the text of a two-year bill to fund the nation’s surface transportation programs.

Dubbed the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21),” the bill has been scheduled for markup on Nov. 9. The legislation would fund transportation programs at current funding levels plus inflation, according to a bill summary.

The bill’s highlights include: consolidating federal programs by two-thirds, from about 90 programs down to less than 30; creating a new title, “America Fast Forward,” to strengthen the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Program (TIFIA) in order to leverage federal dollars; and consolidating certain programs into a focused freight program “to improve the movement of goods,” according to the summary.
 
“Our bill will not only protect the 1.8 million existing transportation jobs, but we will also create up to an additional million jobs thanks to the way our bill leverages federal funds,” Boxer said in a prepared statement.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) has been drafting a six-year surface transportation reauthorization bill, but he has not yet revealed details of how the bill would be funded.

Meanwhile, late last week, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), announced that House Republicans plan to introduce an energy and infrastructure legislative package in the coming weeks that would tie American-made energy production with transportation infrastructure spending.


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