By John Schneidawind, vice president of public affairs, ARTBA
ARTBA and a cross section of nearly 40 national organizations representing business and organized labor are urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to bring S. 2302, the America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA), to a floor vote by the end of the year.
The Senate’s Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee July 29 unanimously passed the ATIA, but “it is up to the rest of the Senate to take the next steps,” the groups wrote in an Oct. 17 letter to McConnell.
Those steps include consideration by the Senate’s Commerce, Banking and Finance committees. The Finance Committee is tasked with developing a way to pay spending called for by the legislation, which represents the first surface transportation program reauthorization bill in nearly 15 years that would significantly increase federal investment in highway safety and mobility improvements.
In urging McConnell to bring the bill to the Senate floor for consideration, the letter notes that “history has demonstrated that delaying action on such measures until their deadline leads to two outcomes: short-term extensions; and the disruption of state highway improvement plans.”
The letter praises McConnell for moving the last highway program reauthorization through the Senate after the EPW Committee passed it in June 2015, which “with your personal support, spurred action from other Senate Committees and the House of Representatives. This culminated in the enactment of the “Fixing America’s Transportation (FAST) Act six months later.”
The House of Representatives has yet to take any action to introduce similar highway program reauthorization legislation.