Friday, March 30, 2012

Congress passes 90-day surface transportation bill extension

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Congress approved a three-month extension of current transportation programs and the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012 was signed by President Obama on March 30, extending the authority to make expenditures from the Highway Trust Fund for HTF-financed programs through June 30, 2012.

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, chairman of Commerce, Science and Transportation said, "Kicking the can down the road for another 90 days is not good policy. While I am relieved that we've been able to avoid letting our job-critical and surface transportation safety programs lapse, I'm frustrated that the House has been unable to act on the Senate's bipartisan two-year reauthorization, which passed with 74 votes."

"Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted against transportation funding certainty and long-term job growth by approving a short-term ‘extension' that defers important decisions," said Chicago's Regional Transportation Authority Executive Director Joseph Costello. "Millions of transit riders and commuters across northeastern Illinois will pay the price."

"Without a multi-year bill, mass transit and highway officials can't bond critically needed repairs and upgrades, just as the summer construction season arrives. The result will be more delays and slow zones for Metra and El riders, more congestion on expressways and longer commutes for everyone," said Chicago Regional Transportation Authority Executive Director Joseph Costello. "It is time for Congress to stop playing politics with the livelihoods of commuters and pass a multi-year bill that supports transit across our region."

"The House will continue working toward passing a long-term transportation reform bill that reduces the size of government, streamlines the project approval process, provides flexibility for states to fund their priorities, eliminates earmarks and is fully paid for," said U.S. Rep. John Mica (R-FL), chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

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