Surface Transportation Bill Clears U.S. House, Includes Woodall Legislation
(Washington, DC) – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation to authorize, fund, and reform the nation’s transportation programs and infrastructure projects. H.R. 22, the “DRIVE Act,” provides 3 years of guaranteed funding and includes a provision ensuring that funding can be extended to 6 years as budget offsets are agreed upon. The House and Senate are now expected to move forward in conference before sending final legislation to both chambers for consideration and to the White House for signature. Georgia’s Seventh District Representative Rob Woodall – who serves on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and played a prominent role in the bill’s passage – described the achievement as a nonpartisan and commonsense step forward.
“The safety of America’s roads, bridges and transportation infrastructure isn’t a partisan issue, rather it is a concern for every Member of Congress irrespective of their politics. Our states, communities, and job-creators need long-term certainty from a government that is effective and accountable to them, and this legislation embodies that principle. The big things take time, but with lots of input we have a bill that we can be proud of and a product that devolves much of the decision-making to states, and streamlines the environmental review process by eliminating duplicative regulatory mandates.”
It has been more than ten years since Republicans and Democrats have come together with a long-term vision for America’s transportation needs. In fact, the longest reauthorization in the last 10 years is only two years, leaving state governments in a difficult position to make long-term plans. Woodall attributes the long-awaited success – which included 126 amendments offered from Members throughout the House – to the American people and transportation stakeholders choosing to participate in the process.
Using his own amendment as an example, H.R. 22 includes language from a previously introduced standalone bill that would remove regulatory barriers for veterans resuming or beginning work in the trucking industry. The “VETOPPS Act,” as it is known, is a result of a conversation Woodall had with a constituent familiar with the problem, and is now on its way to becoming law.
“I’m a firm believer that the best ideas don’t come from Washington, but rather from the expertise of the folks back home – and that’s exactly what happened with the ‘VETOPPS Act,’” Woodall continued. “The only reason I was even aware of this problem negatively affecting our veterans as well as our economy is because one of our neighbors was willing to pick up the phone and share it with me. That’s the partnership our Founders intended, and it’s how we craft lasting solutions to not only this issue, but the many challenges we face.”
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.