IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With the June 30 deadline to pass the nation’s next surface transportation program looming large, today Congress passed a two-year transportation bill to provide $105.2 billion for critical infrastructure projects throughout the country.
Members of Mobility 21, Southern California’s transportation advocacy coalition, applaud Senate Environment and Public Works Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA), House Transportation and Infrastructure Chair John Mica (R-FL) and members of the California delegation for their leadership in delivering a transportation bill that gives Southern California and the rest of the nation much-needed certainty to plan long-term, job-creating transportation projects.
“Passage of the transportation bill is one of the highest priorities of business communities across the nation,” said Gary Toebben, Mobility 21 Chair and President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. “We applaud the transportation conference committee for including America Fast Forward and Breaking Down Barriers in the final bill and for staying focused on what matters — congestion relief and job creation for millions of American workers.”
The final bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), includes provisions Mobility 21 has staunchly supported — the America Fast Forward and Breaking Down Barriers initiatives. America Fast Forward, which provides low-cost financing options for qualified, credit-worthy projects, is a flexible program that enhances and expands the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan program and creates Qualified Transportation Improvement Bonds to accelerate project delivery and the creation of jobs. Breaking Down Barriers improves the federal regulation environment and provides oversight without slowing projects down and enables efficient use of taxpayer dollars.
While MAP-21 includes provisions for a national and state freight policy and maintains the Projects of National and Regional Significance program, members of Mobility 21 are disappointed to see $2 billion in freight funding that was included in the Senate bill dropped from the final legislation.
“Economic activity at the ports creates millions of jobs nationally and generates billions of dollars in revenue,” said Anne Mayer, Riverside County Transportation Commission Executive Director and Mobility 21 Vice Chair. “We’re looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and working with Congress to build upon the freight policies in MAP-21 to also include the necessary funding for goods movement to secure America’s place as a global economic force.”