On Oct. 22, the House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee unanimously approved the Surface Transportation Reauthorization & Reform (the STRR Act [H.R. 3763]), potentially a six-year bill providing $325 billion for roads, bridges and transit infrastructure ($261 billion for highways, $55 billion on transit, and approximately $9 billion on safety programs).
The committee’s decisive action comes as the House Republican caucus coalesced around Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) to be the chamber’s next speaker. While the bill contemplates flat funding, H.R. 3763 currently doesn’t have a revenue title (in other words, there’s zero money beyond the already inadequate Highway Trust Fund revenues) and Ryan’s ascension to House Speaker means he’ll be leaving his post as Ways & Means Committee chairman where
Whether the legislation is ultimately a six-year bill depends on Congress’ ability to come up with a way to pay for the final three years. Consequently, similar to the Senate-passed DRIVE Act, which provided three-years of guaranteed investment in a six-year authorization, the STRR Act is essentially a three-year proposal.
Far from perfect, the industry supported and AED-endorsed STRR Act does move the ball forward and gets closer to finalizing a multiyear highway bill this year. Given the House leadership race and the likely need for the chamber to choose a new Ways & Means Committee chairman to complete the legislation’s revenue title, quick floor action isn’t expected (necessitating another short-term,MAP-21 extension). However, once the House does approve H.R. 3763, a quick conference with the Senate’s DRIVE Act is anticipated as both are similar proposals.
Keep the pressure on: Visit AEDaction.org and tell your lawmakers to save the federal highway program.
For more information about the STRR Act, visit the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s site.