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Local Motion - photos of the TRE, traffic in the IH 30 managed/HOV lane, Fort Worth, airplane

January 2016

 

Congress approves 5-year transportation bill

 

For the first time since 2005, a long-term transportation bill has become law. Aimed at improving the nation’s surface transportation infrastructure, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act was signed by President Barack Obama on December 4. The five-year bill replaces the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act, which expired in September 2014, but continued to authorize transportation programs through multiple extensions.

 

The FAST Act provides $305 billion to federal highway and transit programs with funding from both the Highway Trust Fund and the General Fund. Highway programs will receive almost $225 billion while transit programs are provided with $61 billion. The remaining funds are allocated to the Federal Railroad Administration and Amtrak.

 

Among other changes, the FAST Act emphasizes the importance of goods movement by creating two freight programs. A new competitive grant program addresses large-scale projects of national or regional significance, while a new formula program focuses on highway freight projects.

 

Also included in the bill, the Surface Transportation Program is renamed the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program and funding allocated to Dallas-Fort Worth and other metropolitan areas increases. The Transportation Alternatives Program, which includes bicycle-pedestrian projects, is now contained within the STBGP with set-aside funding. Metropolitan areas are given the same option as states by allowing a portion of the transportation alternatives funds to be used for STBGP projects.

 

The FAST Act also expands on MAP-21 provisions that aim to streamline the environmental review process and accelerate project delivery.

 

Due to the long-term nature of transportation projects, passage of a long-term transportation bill is critical. The bill ensures federal funding can be used to fund necessary surface transportation improvements.

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$305 billion

The funding provided by the recently approved five-year transportation reauthorization bill, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act.

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