The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will unveil its highway bill on Monday, May 12, and vote on it the following Thursday, the Committee announced.
The bill will propose a six-year highway program that maintains current financing and credit support and adds a strategic freight element to the Department of Transportation’s portfolio.
It will not address the key funding issue – that is the province of the Senate Finance Committee – but EPW Chairman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., has said she wants to keep funding at current levels plus inflation.
“This job-creating legislation provides the long-term funding certainty that states, cities, and businesses need while maintaining and improving the efficiency of the successful TIFIA program and establishing a formula-based freight program to improve the movement of goods on our surface transportation system,” Boxer said in a statement Thursday.
TIFIA stands for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, which provides federal assistance to significant projects.
Boxer noted that this is a bipartisan effort and thanked Sens. David Vitter, R-La., Tom Carper, D-Del., and John Barrasso, R-Wyo., for their support.
In an earlier announcement, Boxer spelled out the principles included in the bill. Besides the six-year term and keeping current spending levels plus inflation, it will maintain current formulas for core programs, expand opportunities for rural areas, leverage local resources and require better information sharing on federal grants.