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Congress Extends Highway Program Authorization through September
Last week, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the seventh extension of SAFETEA-LU, the most recent multiyear highway law. This move restores some near-term certainty to construction and equipment markets by ensuring that the program is authorized through the end of fiscal year 2011.
On March 2, the House passed the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011 (H.R. 662) by a wide bipartisan margin with the Senate following suit in a voice vote on March 3, one day before the expiration of the last extension. President Obama quickly signed the legislation.
The federal surface transportation program has been operating under a series of short term extensions since SAFETEA-LU, the most recent multiyear highway law, expired at the end of September 2009. AED and its allies in the construction industry and business community are aggressively lobbying Congress to swiftly enact a new surface transportation authorization law.
In a statement released after House passage of H.R. 662, AED President & CEO Toby Mack warned of the dangers created by Congress’ failure to act on the highway bill. "The uncertainty surrounding the reauthorization of federal surface transportation programs has wreaked havoc not only on the equipment and construction industries, but also on the U. S. economy and the public as a result of crumbling, inadequate and unsafe roads and bridges,” Mack said.
The latest extension will provide some certainty and will allow states to go ahead with project lettings as the construction season gets underway. However, long-term predictability and planning in transportation spending remains impossible without a new multiyear highway bill.
“Congress must use this new extension period as a 'must do' window to enact a robust, long-term surface transportation bill,” Mack said. “Lawmakers must recognize that surface transportation investment is the 'bricks and mortar' that creates and maintains the physical structure upon which our economy operates and grows, and is an urgent national priority."
Unfortunately, in the current budget environment, every federal program is on the chopping block, including investments in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure.
It is critical that your representatives and senators hear from you about the need for a new highway bill and the difference between smart investments in our nation’s future and wasteful spending. Click here to send a note urging your lawmakers to make surface transportation reauthorization a top priority.
To learn more about what’s happening on the reauthorization front and what you can do to help move the ball forward, register now for a special AED Webinar this Friday (March 11) at 10 a.m. CT/11 a.m. ET. To register, go to: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/354009954
Article Date: 2011-03-07
Source: Associated Equipment Distributors
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