By David Bauer, senior vice president of government relations, ARTBA

President Obama Dec. 4 signed into law the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act,” or FAST Act. The five-year surface transportation program reauthorization provides $286 billion in highway and public transportation investment. The House of Representatives approved the legislation Dec. 3 by 359 to 65.  The Senate approved the measure later the same day by 83 to 16.

Given the process to reconcile the separate House- and Senate-passed multi-year reauthorization bills was completed in under three weeks and with no public acrimony between the two chambers or political parties, there was little doubt the FAST Act would be approved by Congress.  The final votes, however, underscore the ability of meaningful transportation infrastructure investment and policy reform legislation to earn broad bipartisan support.  In the House of Representatives, 178 Republicans were joined by 181 Democrats to support the measure with 65 Republicans voting against it.  The measure garnered similar overwhelmingly bipartisan support, with backing from 40 Republicans and 43 Democrats (including 1 Independent who affiliates with the Democrats).  14 Republicans and 2 Democrats opposed the legislation.

Obama signed the bill hours before the latest of numerous short-term reauthorization extensions expired at midnight Dec. 4.