Conference Report on H.R. 22, Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015by Representative Sam Graves
Posted on 2015-12-03
GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in enthusiastic
support for this conference report, which reauthorizes the surface
transportation program for 5 years.
Mr. Speaker, I would argue that few investments made by the Federal Government are more important than the ones we are discussing here today. We depend on a very well-run transportation network for just about everything we do in this country. Improving that system becomes more critical as we become more mobile as a society.
In the immediate future, this conference report is going to allow States to plan and execute some much-needed infrastructure repair. In Missouri alone, long-term surface transportation reauthorization translates into improvements for 35,000 miles of highway and 10,000 bridges.
Specifically, this conference report reforms the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and increases transparency within its compliance, safety, and accountability program. These reforms will fundamentally change the way the agency analyzes and develops rules for the trucking industry.
This is an industry that we all rely on as Americans, but Federal regulations continue to make it harder and harder for small and independent truckers to do business.
The FAST Act also increases efficiency within high-cost construction programs. It uses existing funding to develop a new formula for highway freight projects and creates a competitive grant program for projects of national or regional importance.
While this 5-year reauthorization is fully paid for, it doesn't address the long-term funding issues staring down the highway trust fund. That is why we directed research into more sustainable long-term funding sources, including a user-funded model that does more than just rely on the existing gas tax.
But, looking ahead, this bill sets the stage for us to continue reshaping and rethinking America's transportation network. It will allow us to modernize roads and transit systems using innovations from the private sector. It is going to help us employ advances in technology and interconnectivity to improve safety on America's highways.
Ultimately, this report guarantees that local governments are going to no longer be forced to operate off of one short-term extension after another. This gives the States the certainty and the funding they need to improve their roads, rebuild their bridges, and invest in their infrastructure.
I am proud of the bipartisan work that the House and the Senate have done to finalize this long-term Federal reauthorization. I would like to echo the words of the ranking member.
This was a very bipartisan bill. Thanks to Ranking Member DeFazio, Chairman Shuster, and Ranking Member Norton, I think we did a fantastic job when it comes to putting the bill together. I look forward to seeing the President sign it.