Now that the Senate has voted 74-22 to pass S. 1813, the transportation spending bill otherwise known as the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act,” the table has been set to spend $109 billion over two years on infrastructure projects.
The House is pushing for a broader measure that would provide $260 billion over five years, H.R. 7, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act of 2012, sponsored by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Fla. But with the current transportation funding law set to expire March 31, the chamber plans to pass a short-term extension to keep highway programs funded and then try to pass the Mica bill after the Easter recess.
Meanwhile, the National Retail Federation joined more than a dozen other trade associations this week at a “Rally for Roads” on the National Mall, calling on the House to move quickly on its version of legislation to reauthorize federal transportation spending.
“This rally comes at a critical time,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “In less than two weeks, federal funding for highways, bridges and other essential infrastructure projects is going to dry up, and that work is going to come to a halt. Too many jobs are at stake for Congress to let this wait any longer.”
“A critical component of our transportation future has to be the development of a national freight policy that recognizes the importance of freight movement to businesses across our country and puts a priority on funding for freight-related projects,” Gold said. “Retailers need reliable and efficient infrastructure to get merchandise to our stores, but the U.S. transportation system has suffered from decades of underinvestment that has turned it into an inflexible drag on the recovering economy.”
The “Rally for Roads” event drew several members of Congress and hundreds of supporters who called for passage of transportation legislation.