Washington, D.C. — Both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate overwhelmingly approved the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, five-year legislation to improve America’s roads, bridges, public transit, and rail transportation systems and reform federal surface transportation programs.
The FAST Act is the bicameral, bipartisan agreement of the House-Senate Conference Committee that was tasked with resolving differences between the surface transportation bills passed earlier this year in the House and Senate. The House voted 359 to 65 in favor of the FAST Act Conference Report; the Senate voted 83-16 to approve the measure.
“The FAST Act is one of the most important measures this Congress will pass,” said House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), who also served as chairman of the Conference Committee. “This legislation will help repair and improve the critical transportation network that we all rely on every day to get to work, get our kids home safely from school, and get the goods and products we need. This bill is an investment in America and the infrastructure that underpins our economy. I appreciate the work of all my colleagues on the Transportation Committee and the Conference Committee, on both sides of the aisle, in working to move this legislation forward for our country.”
“This five-year transportation strategy provides the stability needed to spur growth and enhance the safety of our nation’s transportation system,” said Sen. John Thune (R-SD), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. “By offering states flexibility, certainty, and relief from red tape, we’re going to get more projects off the ground. Investments in our nation’s highways, ports, railroads, freight, and mass transit systems are fundamental investments in our economy that benefit all Americans. I am proud of the work that the Commerce Committee contributed to the effort and look forward to seeing this bill signed into law."
“After ten years of short-term band-aids and extensions, Congress will finally pass a long-term, bipartisan surface transportation bill that will begin to deal with our aging network of roads, bridges, and transit systems,” said House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR). “This is a common-sense, bipartisan bill that provides our state and local governments with the certainty they need to begin to plan for long-term projects that bring our aging system into the 21st century. This legislation isn’t perfect. However, I am happy that the FAST Act includes higher funding levels than the House-passed bill. I am also pleased that it includes a critical provision I advocated for that allows for automatic adjustments and increased infrastructure investment in the future if Congress does the right thing and comes up with more revenue to deposit into the Highway Trust Fund. This mechanism will allow funds to be invested in our surface transportation infrastructure, without any additional action by Congress. I commend Chairman Shuster, who Chaired the Conference, and my colleagues in both the House and Senate who helped craft this important legislation. I look forward to this bill being signed into law.”
The FAST Act is a fully paid-for reauthorization of federal highway, transit, highway safety, motor carrier safety, hazardous materials, and passenger rail programs. The bill reforms and strengthens transportation programs, refocuses on national priorities, provides long-term certainty and more flexibility for states and local governments, streamlines project approval processes, and maintains a strong commitment to safety.
More information on the FAST Act is available at http://transportation.house.gov/fast-act/#top1.