Long-term federal highway bill finally signed into law
After years of short-term extensions of highway & transit programs, Congress recently passed and the president signed a five-year highway & transit bill known as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The FAST Act provides roughly $300 billion for federal highway and transit programs through fiscal year 2020. The bill increases Washington State’s federal highway and transportation apportionment from $654 million in fiscal year 2015 to an estimated $688 million in fy 2016, increasing steadily to $751 million in fy 2020.
For much more information about the FAST Act, click here.
The major sticking point over the last decade has been finding funding offsets for another long-term bill. While not completely resolved by FAST, offsets such as tapping Federal Reserve dividends, and changes to customs fees and passport rules have been employed to support infrastructure.
AGC of America hopes to see continued Congressional support for the nation’s infrastructure in the coming years. “The slight boost to overall transportation funding included in this five-year measure will help cut traffic, improve transportation safety and keep our economy globally competitive,” said AGC of America CEO Stephen Sandherr. “Likewise, the policy reforms that we backed and were included in the measure will help reduce the amount of time and money it takes to plan, approve and construct new transportation projects. We will continue to urge Congress and the administration to find the kind of long-term and sustainable funding mechanisms that the current measure lacks. Identifying a new way to pay for highway and transit upgrades is crucial if we want to avoid the temporary extensions and patchwork funding provisions that preceded this bill. Ultimately, we want to make sure that the sequel to this bill fully funds our highway and transit program for generations to come."