Providing Certainty for Georgians: House Approves Long-term Surface Transportation Bill
(Washington, DC) – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the longest surface transportation funding bill in more than a decade – and with Senate approval imminent – the President’s signature is all that remains before it becomes federal law. The Conference Report for H.R. 22, the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act” provides $305 billion in funding through FY2020 and includes a streamlining of the environmental review and permitting process to expedite project completion, offers additional flexibility for states through block granting of surface transportation funds, and prioritizes spending on nationally significant freight corridors. U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall (GA 07) – a member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and the Conference Committee for H.R. 22 – applauded the long-awaited accomplishment as a result of strong local partnerships.
“The need for a responsible, long-term vision for our nation’s roads, bridges, and transportation infrastructure isn’t a partisan issue,” said Rep. Woodall. “Today’s vote is the culmination of a lot of hard work and a tremendous partnership between the folks back home and their representatives in Washington. The big things take time, and are often difficult to get across the finish line, but when the American people get involved in the process, good things happen.”
Among those good things for Georgians, the FAST Act includes over $6.8 billion in funding allocated to the state through FY2020, which is $607 million above the funding levels set by the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP 21) Act” in 2012. While the funds will certainly be put to use, Woodall contends the benefit goes beyond dollars and cents.
“This isn’t just a transportation funding bill,” Woodall continued. “It’s a bill that provides the certainty Georgia’s leaders have been looking for; it’s a jobs bill; it’s an economic competitiveness bill; and it’s a safety bill. It refocuses our efforts to ensure commerce flows freely on our highways and provides more flexibility for Georgia to move forward on our projects. This is a bill that affects the daily lives of virtually every American family and business – and they’re the stakeholders whose contribution made today’s achievement possible.”
Woodall, who managed the rule for debate on H.R. 22, was also the author of legislation included as an amendment to the FAST Act. The “Veterans Expanded Trucking Opportunities (VETOPPS) Act” removes regulatory barriers for military veterans resuming or beginning work in the trucking industry, and will now become law with the overall bill’s passage. As the result of a discussion he had with a constituent familiar with the problem, Woodall again points to the importance of local input for crafting good policy.
“I firmly believe that the best ideas come from the folks back – and that’s exactly what happened here,” Woodall concluded. “Whether long-term transportation planning or industry-specific problems, crafting long-term solutions requires the input of the American people, and I’m proud to be a part of that partnership.”
Congressman Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes the majority of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, and currently serves as Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process, as well as serving on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and Budget Committee.