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BAF Statement on the Transportation Conference Report

WASHINGTON, DC – Today Congress approved final legislation to fund the nation’s roads, bridges and transit systems through September 30, 2014.  In response, co-chairs of Building America’s Future Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I-NYC) and former Governor Ed Rendell (D-PA) issued the following statement:

“Today’s bipartisan approval of legislation to fund our nation’s roads, bridges and transit systems through September 2014 is a good step forward,” said Mayor Bloomberg.  “The final bill includes many provisions we supported, including ensuring that mass transit continues to be part of the Highway Trust Fund and ensuring funding for bike and pedestrian projects, a portion of which will go directly to cities. The bill also includes a new formula for ferries, which is a step in right direction, but the formula should better reflect ridership.”

 “Few policy issues impact our nation’s economic competitiveness, quality of life and safety like an effective and reliable transportation network,” said Governor Rendell. “Under the leadership of Senator Boxer and Representative Mica, the conference committee crafted a bipartisan bill that is at the core of today’s legislation – and they are to be congratulated for their hard work and persistence. This bill will ensure that our roads, bridges and transit systems continue to be funded over the next two years and includes several critical policy reforms.“

The final bill includes several key provisions that BAF supported, including ensuring that transit continues to be funded out of the Highway Trust Fund, increasing the authorization for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), consolidating duplicative programs and eliminating harmful language that would have imposed some restrictions on the ability of states and cities to partner with the private sector. 

“Unfortunately, the bill does not provide a path forward in identifying a long-term sustainable and significant funding source that is paid for by the users of the transportation system,” said Governor Rendell. “Congress must eventually resolve the funding issue surrounding the Highway Trust Fund or it will again face insolvency in 2014.  As Building America’s Future Educational Fund called for in our Falling Apart and Falling Behind report, we must move towards a long-term and comprehensive plan that will modernize not just our transportation network, but all of our nation’s infrastructure.” 

Both Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Rendell noted that the reforms included in the bill are an important step forward to bringing greater accountability to how transportation projects are selected and funded. With this framework in place, Building America’s Future is eager to continue working with Congress over the next two years to incorporate further reforms in an effort to create national transportation policy that will increase the nation’s economic competitiveness and enhance quality of life. 

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Media Contact: Laura Braden, 615-891-8433, laura AT bradenstrategies.com

Summary/Promote Copy: 

Today Congress approved final legislation to fund the nation’s roads, bridges and transit systems through September 30, 2014.  In response, co-chairs of Building America’s Future Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I-NYC) and former Governor Ed Rendell (D-PA) issued the following statement: