The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate reached agreement on a five-year $305 billion transportation funding package this week, the first long-term transportation funding bill that has moved forward in several years. The legislation is titled “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act,” or “FAST Act” for short.
As reported by Better Roads,
The bill is set to be paid for through the 18.4 cent gas tax as well as changes in custom fees and passport rules for those with delinquent taxes. The bill also will offset some costs by contracting out some tax collection services to private companies.
According to the summary of the bill from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the FAST Act would do the following to help roads and bridges:
- Facilitates commerce and the movement of goods by refocusing existing funding for a National Highway Freight Program and a Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects Program
- Expands funding available for bridges off the National Highway System
- Streamlines the environmental review and permitting process to accelerate project approvals, without sacrificing environmental protections
- Eliminates or consolidates at least six separate offices within the Department of Transportation and establishes a National Surface Transportation and Innovative Finance Bureau to help states, local governments, and the private sector with project delivery
- Increases transparency by requiring the Department of Transportation to provide project-level information to Congress and the public
- Promotes private investment in our surface transportation system
- Promotes the deployment of transportation technologies and congestion management tools
- Encourages installation of vehicle-to-infrastructure equipment to improve congestion and safety
- Updates research and transportation standards development to reflect the growth of technology