December 4, 2015 – Washington, D.C. – Today, Building America’s Future applauded the bipartisan passage of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation, or FAST Act, the first long-term transportation funding bill in a decade. However, Building America’s Future expressed concern that the funding levels outlined in the FAST Act are not at the levels required to rebuild and renew America’s crumbling roads, bridges, highways, rails, airports and seaports.
The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 359 to 65, and the Senate by a vote of 83-16. The bill will now head to the desk of President Obama, who has indicated that he will swiftly sign it into law.
“Last night, Congress did something it has not done in ten years: it passed a meaningful long-term surface transportation bill,” said Marcia Hale, president of Building America’s Future. “This in itself is cause for optimism, but we are nevertheless concerned that the funding levels outlined in the FAST Act will not sufficiently dig us out of the hole we we’ve created by neglecting our infrastructure and transportation. The FAST Act includes an increase in funding levels, but it is not nearly enough to address the $94 billion funding gap established by the American Society of Civil Engineers.”
However there are new and innovative programs outlined in the bill, including the Regional Accelerator Demonstration Program, authorized at $12 million, and a pilot program funded at $95 million over five years, which will allow states to explore user-based alternative revenue mechanisms that would maintain the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund. Building America’s Future has led the way in advocating for these programs, and the organization is pleased to see them become reality.