Obama’s signature followed the House of Representatives giving overwhelming approval for the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The five-year, US$305bn (£202bn) legislation is designed to improve America’s roads, bridges, public transit and rail transportation systems and reform federal surface transportation programmes.
The FAST Act agreement is the work of a House-Senate committee that was tasked with resolving differences between the surface transportation bills passed earlier this year by the two legislative bodies.
“The FAST Act is one of the most important measures this Congress will pass,” said House transportation and infrastructure committee chairman Bill Shuster, who also served as chairman of the committee. “This legislation will help repair and improve the critical transportation network that we all rely on every day to get to work, get our kids home safely from school, and get the goods and products we need. This bill is an investment in America and the infrastructure that underpins our economy.”
House transportation and infrastructure committee ranking member Peter DeFazio said: “After ten years of short-term band-aids and extensions, Congress will finally pass a long-term, bipartisan surface transportation bill that will begin to deal with our ageing network of roads, bridges, and transit systems. This is a common-sense, bipartisan bill that provides our state and local governments with the certainty they need to begin to plan for long-term projects that bring our ageing system into the 21st century.
The bill is designed to reform and strengthen transportation programmes, refocus on national priorities, provide long-term certainty and more flexibility for states and local governments, streamline project approval processes and maintains a strong commitment to safety.