Congress has passed a surface transportation bill ending a three-year gridlock and ensuring program continuation.
NSSGA Chairman Ron Summers, senior vice president, Materials Division, CalPortland Co., Glendora, Calif., hailed the action on H.R. 4348, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, thanking members of Congress for passing a legislative package that will fund the nation’s roads, bridges and mass transit for the next 27 months. The bill, which will shortly go to the president for signature, assures the employment of three million Americans in the construction industry, where unemployment has outpaced the national rate.
“This bill will help put the aggregates industry back on the road to economic growth,” said NSSGA President and CEO Joy Pinniger. “Every $1 million in aggregates sales creates 19.5 jobs, and every dollar of industry output returns $1.58 to the economy.” She noted that the bill includes historic reforms that consolidate programs and eliminate program redundancies, as well as expediting the project approval process.
NSSGA acknowledges the perseverance of Conference Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Vice Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) with the support and direction of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in achieving this bipartisan, bicameral agreement.
Most of all, NSSGA staff appreciate the tireless work, tenacity and dedication of all association members, from CEOs to quarry foremen, in expressing to Congress continually over the past several years the need for a multi-year, well-funded surface transportation reauthorization. It is due to the continued member grasstops and grassroots activities of NSSGA and its transportation coalition partners that this point has been reached.
With the passage of MAP-21, NSSGA and all other transportation stakeholders must now begin working with members of Congress and the administration to conceive a comprehensive surface transportation plan for the 21st Century, including development of a new, long-term mechanism to ensure sustainable funding of the nation’s surface transportation network well into the future.