Bipartisan Support for Highway Funding Bill that Includes Boozman Provisions
WASHINGTON–The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) unanimously passed a landmark surface transportation reauthorization bill to invest over $300 billion to repair and modernize roads and bridges, and which includes several priorities advanced by committee member U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR).
“Infrastructure is a bipartisan issue because Americans everywhere understand we must to be able to move people and goods efficiently throughout our country. The EPW Committee continues to build on this consensus and has again adopted legislation that seeks to upgrade our country’s transportation infrastructure,” Boozman said. “I’m proud to have worked alongside my colleagues to craft this bill that invests a historic level of funding to ensure our infrastructure network in Arkansas and nationwide is safe and able to perform the vital function that underpins our entire economy.”
The Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021 sets a new baseline funding level of over $300 billion for U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) programs for highways, roads and bridges. This marks an increase of more than 34 percent from the last reauthorization to pass Congress, the FAST Act, in 2015.
The prior authorization for surface transportation programs expired in 2020. Congress passed a one-year extension that will expire on September 30, 2021.
“This legislation is an important step forward in the effort to address our infrastructure shortfalls, and the Biden administration should follow the lead of our committee. One area that will help us achieve this much-needed progress is the reforms we approved related to streamlining and expediting permitting and review processes,” said Boozman. “When we empower states and localities to tackle essential repairs or new projects with the confidence that they can complete that work in a timely fashion, it will build momentum and spur further investment.”
The bill includes the following provisions secured by Boozman:
- Establishing a competitive grant program to assist the repair and replacement of deficient and outdated bridges and ease the national bridge repair backlog.
- Restoration of flexibility for Highway Safety Improvement Program funds to better protect motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
- Safety improvement at railway-highway grade crossings, including funding for reducing pedestrian fatalities and injuries.
- Speeding up projects by spurring completion of DOT environmental impact statements and requiring accountability when deadlines are missed, and requiring the Secretary of Transportation to limit repetitive work zone process reviews.
- Minimizing unnecessary delays and paperwork burdens for low-risk and exempt intelligent transportation system projects.
Boozman has consistently called for wise, effective investment in core physical infrastructure projects to repair and rebuild roads, highways and bridges in Arkansas and across the country.