Senate EPW Committee Passes Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill

On July 30, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee unanimously passed its federal surface transportation reauthorization bill, the America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA), S. 2302. APWA applauds the work of the Committee for its bipartisan approach to investing in our nation’s transportation infrastructure.

ATIA proposes a 5-year authorization to follow the current transportation law, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act (Public Law 114-94), which expires September 30, 2020. Included in S. 2302 is a proposed funding level of $287 billion, a 27.7% funding increase over the FAST Act. The legislation would provide federal funding to programs for highways and bridges and would maintain the traditional formula for distributing 90% of the money to the states.

In drafting the legislation, EPW Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) and Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE) sought to focus their committee’s efforts on providing stable federal funding, and on increasing safety of the traveling public, as well as increasing innovation and resiliency. The legislation also would codify the streamlining measures put into place by One Federal Decision, which aims to eliminate duplication in federal permitting processes and sets a two-year goal to complete all environmental reviews and authorization decisions regarding major infrastructure projects.

The EPW bill is the first shot this Congress at authorizing federal surface transportation programs early, or on time. It is important to note, in the Senate, the EPW Committee does not have full jurisdiction over all transportation programs. The following committees each have jurisdiction over portions of federal surface transportation programs: Senate Finance Committee (funding), the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee (transportation safety, technology, research, railroads), and the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee (transit) all have a piece of the necessary programs.

In addition to passing S. 2302, EPW passed S. 1992, which seeks to repeal Section 1438 of the FAST Act that calls for a rescission of $7.6 billion in unobligated highway funds in July 2020. ATIA also includes a provision to repeal the rescission.

S. 2302 is not yet scheduled for Senate floor action, but EPW staff have shared they are hoping to have the bill considered by the full Senate this fall. APWA currently has an internal surface transportation reauthorization work group drafting a policy statement specifically outlining APWA’s priorities for the next federal surface transportation law to the Trump Administration and Congress. That policy is expected to be finalized this September. For any questions related to APWA’s transportation policy priorities, please contact Director of Government Affairs Andrea Eales at aeales@apwa.net.