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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

U.S. Chamber calls on Congress to pass transportation bill


Yesterday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to House and Senate Transportation Conference Committee members calling on them to resolve their differences over surface transportation legislation and pass a report out of the committee prior to the expiration of current surface transportation legislation on June 30.

“Congress must build on the strong bicameral and bipartisan support for transportation reform and investment and enact thoughtful policies that will increase public trust and confidence in federal highway, transit and safety programs; help stabilize critical industries; and strengthen America’s competitive edge,” the letter states.

The letter notes that, while there are differences between House Republicans’ transportation legislation and the Senate Democrats’ two-year transportation bill passed earlier this year, there also are many common elements in major policy categories.

Among those common elements: consolidating and focusing programs; increasing state flexibility on transportation legislation; requiring accountability for transportation projects; accelerating project delivery by reducing federal bureaucracy; improving freight movement of goods throughout the United States by reducing traffic congestion and bottlenecks; improving highway safety; improving transit; enhancing research and technology; and expanding public-private partnerships and private participation.

The conference committee has been meeting since May 8. An extension of SAFETEA-LU, the current law that funds surface transportation programs, will expire on June 30. Congress has extended SAFETEA-LU nine times since it expired in 2009.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/19/2012