WASHINGTON (Oct. 27, 2015) — The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has passed the Surface Transportation and Reform (STRR) Act of 2015.
The committee unanimously approved the bipartisan, multi-year bill Oct. 22.
The six-year bill would authorize an estimated $325 billion for surface transportation projects. However, some sources have said the legislation as written actually provides for only about half of that amount.
“The source of funding for the bill is still unclear,” according to the Oct. 26 Weekly Legislative Update issued by the Tire Industry Association (TIA). “The six-year funding bill passed by the Senate this summer only had three years of pay-fors.”
TIA noted that the STRR contains no provisions on tire registration. The association has warned its members to be vigilant against any attempt by Congress to insert mandatory tire registration language into the final bill.
According to a committee summary, among other things the STRR would:
• Provide certainty for state and local governments to undertake large-scale transportation projects;
• Provide flexibility for states to invest in bridge rehabilitation and replacement;
• Cut red tape in environmental reviews of transportation projects;
• Reform truck and bus safety programs, and ease administrative burdens on small business; and
• Promote private investment in the U.S. surface transportation system.
Bill Graves, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations (ATA), praised the bill especially for its provisions beneficial to the trucking industry.
“We're pleased the bill clamps down on the expansion of tolling and establishes a dedicated freight fund — two positive steps not just for trucking, but for consumers, shippers and the economy,” Mr. Graves said in an ATA statement.
Congress has until Oct. 29 to approve a surface transportation measure before current funding runs out.