The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unanimously approved the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform (STRR) Act of 2015 (H.R. 3763), a bipartisan, six-year surface transportation bill to reauthorize and reform federal highway, transit, and highway safety programs.
The STRR Act helps improve the nation’s surface transportation infrastructure, reforms programs and refocuses those programs on addressing national priorities, maintains a strong commitment to safety, and promotes innovation to make the system and programs work better, according to the committee.
The proposal is fiscally responsible, provides greater flexibility and more certainty for states and local governments to address their priorities, and accelerates project delivery, the committee added. The bill also extends the deadline for U.S. railroads to implement Positive Train Control technology.
“The Committee’s overwhelming approval of the STRR Act today is a positive step forward for our Nation’s transportation system and our economy,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.). “I look forward to House action on the bill and going to conference with the Senate as soon as possible.”
The act would provide the Federal-Aid Highway Program with:
- $38.4 billion in 2016.
- $39.1 billion in 2017.
- $39.9 billion in 2018.
- $40.7 billion in 2019.
- $41.6 billion in 2020.
- $42.4 billion in 2021.
The act also includes provision for streamlining environmental review and permitting, among other things. The STRR Act of 2015 still has to be considered by the full house, amended, passed and reconciled with the Senate version.
“As the industry that supplies the essential building materials for our nation’s roads and highways, we are glad to see that our country is closer to having a long-term investment in our infrastructure,” said Michael W. Johnson, National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association president and CEO. “While the current funding levels are not ideal in this draft, we welcome any bill that allows our member companies to continue partnering with federal, state and local companies to improve roads, bridges and infrastructure. Any investment in our nation’s surface transportation network is a win for all Americans and it is imperative to continued economic growth, maintaining global competitiveness, cleaner air and safer roads.”