The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials co-signed with 68 other organizations a June 14 letter urging Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to schedule “floor time” for the 2021 Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act or STRA before Congress adjourns for its annual “state work period” in August.
“Investing in infrastructure remains a transformational opportunity for Congress to improve the nation’s economy, create thousands of good-paying jobs, and build for the future,” the letter stressed. “An announcement of floor time for the STRA consideration would be a strong signal of preserved continuity of federal funds and help facilitate necessary action among other relevant Senate committees.”
Spearheaded by American Road & Transportation Builders Association, the letter noted that the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works unanimously approved the $303.5 billion five-year STRA on May 26, which calls for “historic and timely levels of investment to rebuild the nation’s roads and bridges.”
The letter added that the EPW’s surface reauthorization bill increases federal highway investment by 34 percent while pursuing important environmental review and approval process reforms, protecting infrastructure assets from future natural disasters, preserving state flexibility, and improving the safety of the nation’s transportation assets.
The letter also addressed one of the main concerns within the transportation industry regarding surface reauthorization efforts: that a bill gets passed before the current one-year funding extension expires on September 30.
“Short-term extensions generate significant disruptions and uncertainty for state transportation programs and the people and businesses relying on infrastructure development,” the letter said. “Highway and public transportation programs are the only federal infrastructure authorizations set to expire September 30 and cannot wait past the summer work period for Senate action.”