Bill Increases Funding for Highways, Bridges, and Ports; Provides Six Years of Planning Certainty
WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 6, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) helped pass the first comprehensive federal transportation planning bill since 2009. The bill makes investments in infrastructure including highways, transit programs, and roadway safety and makes significant streamlining reforms to the current environmental review system that is often duplicative and overly burdensome.
“Across San Diego and the rest of the country our roads are in disrepair, bridges are failing, and transit systems need long-term investments,” said Rep. Peters. “Today’s bill gives states and planning organizations, including SANDAG in our region, the ability to plan for the future. And it gives transit agencies like our Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) more opportunities to compete for grant funding.
Peters continued, “This bill also makes desperately needed reforms to the often redundant environmental review processes. These changes will both protect our environment for future generations and get good projects moving more quickly, creating jobs and moving our economy forward sustainably.
“It is well understood that the current 18.4-cent per gallon federal gas tax – which has not been raised since 1993 – does not provide the funding necessary to the Highway Trust Fund to make needed upgrades to our highway and transit systems. As mile-per-gallon ratings increase in cars and trucks, and as more families move to hybrid, alternative-fuel, and electric vehicles, this funding source will only dwindle further.” Rep. Peters concluded, “Today’s bill will support California’s innovative efforts on a vehicle-miles-traveled pilot program as we work to find a long-term replacement to the current system.”
The bill will now be combined with a slightly different version that passed the U.S. Senate earlier this summer before it can become law.
Issues of Interest to San Diego:
Increased funds available for highway projects in California from $3.59 billion in Fiscal Year 2016 to $3.98 billion in Fiscal Year 2021
Increased funds available for transit projects in California from $1.25 billion in Fiscal Year 2016 to $1.37 billion in Fiscal Year 2021
For the first time, the Department of Transportation will develop a National Freight Program that will increase American competitiveness by integrating numerous modes of freight traffic among trucks, railways, ports, and border crossings
Expanded opportunities for San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System to compete for bus and bus-facility upgrade funding
$20 million pilot program for states, which California will be in prime position to access, on feasibility of replacing the deficient federal gas tax with a vehicle-miles-traveled user fee system
Four-year reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank; since 2007, 43 companies in San Diego, including 25 small businesses, have exported $3 billion worth of goods with the help of the Ex-Im Bank