Congress approves US Highway Funding Bill

By Helen Wright02 July 2012

After years of negotiation, approval was granted on 29 June for a US$ 105 billion Bill to extend US federal surface transportation programmes.

The two-year Surface Transportation Bill, which must still be signed into law by US President Obama, provides funding for road projects until 2014. Its Congressional passage ends nearly three years of temporary extensions.

The package, which sustains current levels of funding for the construction and repair of highways, bridges and other transportation projects in every US state, won Senate approval with a 74 to 19 vote after passing the House 373 to 52.

President Obama is expected to sign the legislation into law within the next month.

Rusty Fowler, chair of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) said the Bill provided the market with much-needed certainty for the next two years. "This long overdue legislation is critical to market certainty and economic growth, and I encourage the President to sign this into law without delay," he said.

But Mr Fowler also called for a longer term strategy. "The comprehensive infrastructure investment our country needs requires a long-term strategic vision and a well-structured, sustainable funding mechanism in order to be effective."

And while Stephen Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), also welcomed the Bill's approval, he too called for a longer-term plan. "Beyond this immediate measure, we expect, and encourage, members of Congress to work in a similar bipartisan and bicameral manner to address the long-term funding challenges that will continue to threaten highway and transit investments after this new measure expires," he said.

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