Obama signs 5-year, $305B highway bill into law

By |  December 7, 2015

President Obama signed the five-year, $305 billion highway bill Friday that Congress passed one day earlier.

The bill, called the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, represents the first long-term national transportation spending package since SAFETEA-LU expired in 2009.

“This bill is not perfect, but it is a commonsense compromise, and an important first step in the right direction,” says Obama, in a statement.

The bill received tremendous support from both chambers of Congress. The Senate approved the FAST Act with an 83-16 vote. The House approved it with a 359-65 tally. Congress faced a Friday deadline to get a deal done to assure federal infrastructure funding goes uninterrupted.

According to The Hill, the FAST Act spans 1,300 pages. Gas tax revenue and a $70 billion package in offsets from the federal budget supply the majority of the funds – about $205 billion for highways and another $48 billion for transit projects. The bill also reauthorizes the Export-Import Bank’s expired charter until 2019.

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) says the FAST Act would grow annual federal highway investment by 15.1 percent from the current $40.3 billion to $46.4 billion. The association says the bill does not provide a permanent solution to the Highway Trust Fund’s structural revenue deficit.

“The measure uses a variety of one-time cost savings and non-transportation resources to supplement incoming trust fund revenue to support its investment levels over the next five years,” ARTBA says.

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About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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