COMTO applauds the passage of a five year $305 billion authorization to fund transportation programs through 2020. This is the first long-term authorization since SAFTEA-LU was passed in 2005. The authorizing legislation called Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) is compromise legislation between the House and Senate passed bills. The total $305 billion funding authorizes $61 billion for Transit and $205 billion for Highway.
“We are pleased that the bill increases highway and transit spending and provides states with assurances that federal help will be available for major projects” said COMTO President Mioshi Moses.
The legislation retains the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise DBE program without the proposed provision to include veterans, and there was no other action taken to adjust a COMTO backed provision to the increase/adjust DOT size standard to conform to the SBA standard. COMTO will continue to work with the USDOT to make adjustments administratively.
Other key provisions of the FAST Act include the following:
Bus and Bus Facilities is authorized at a total funding level of $696 million for 2016 up to $809 billion by 2020, an increase of 89 percent over current funding levels.
The State of Good Repair Program saw significant authorized increases in this legislation. In 2016, the authorized level is $2.5 billion, rising to $2.68 billion by 2020, at 24 percent increase over current level funding by 2020.
The Fixed Guideway Capital Investment grants funding from the general fund for Capital investment grants are authorized at $2.3 billion in 2016 and each year thereafter to 2020. This is an almost 21 percent increase over the MAP 21 funding levels. This funding is subject to appropriation levels.
The legislation calls for modest growth for seniors and individuals with Disabilities, growing the program 10.5 percent over five years.
The bill also creates a pilot program for Innovative Coordinated Access and Mobility at $15.25 million.
Warren Montague, COMTO Board Chair, is “encouraged by this bill as it addresses concerns with the country’s aging infrastructure”. President Obama is expected to sign the bill as early as today.
Founded in 1971 on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC, the Conference Of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) was created to provide a forum for minority professionals in the transportation industry.