Dec. 9, 2015

Senate Passes Surface Transportation Bill

The nation’s infrastructure concerns have been partly addressed through a House-Senate compromise bill to reauthorize the surface transportation programs for the next five years. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act is the first long-term transportation bill to be passed by Congress in 10 years. Highway funding over the past decade has been handled by temporary reauthorizations.

“The steel industry is not only a user of the highway system, but it is also an important supplier to road, bridge and transit builders. This long-overdue legislation will enable steelmakers and our customers to plan for the future, as the bill provides an increase in current investment levels—estimated at 15 percent for road, highway and bridge projects, and 20 percent for transit programs,” says Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute in Washington.

Gibson says key provisions of the bill that benefit the steel industry include accelerated project delivery via permit streamlining; the promotion of public-private partnerships; a national freight program aimed at reducing congestion; innovative funding for bridge construction; and a review of cost-saving bridge design and construction techniques to include lifecycle costs.

However, AISI believes the bill does not address all of the issues facing the nation’s infrastructure. “While the bill provides enough revenue to cover the five-year investments authorized, it does not address the long-term insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund. In order for our economy to remain internationally competitive, a long-term surface transportation bill is critical,” Gibson says.


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Monday, October 23, 2017