Congress Approves 5-Year, $305 Billion Highway Funding Bill

Date: December 04, 2015

Measure Has Approval Of President, Some Business Groups

Thursday, Congress approved a five-year $305 billion highway funding bill, which is now headed to President Obama for his signature. According to The Hill and several other news outlets, the White House has said that the President is planning to sign the bill. Most news sources, including USA Today, described the measure as a product of bipartisanship, with the House voting 359 to 65 and the Senate voting 83 to 16 to approve the bill. The article pointed out that “business groups praised the legislation for creating construction jobs, improving freight delivery and streamlining government regulation.” The Hill reported that Secretary Foxx “applauded lawmakers” for passing the bill. Foxx is quoted as saying, “After 36 extensions, hundreds of congressional meetings, two bus tours, visits to 43 states, and so much uncertainty, it has been a long and bumpy ride to a long-term transportation bill.” He added, “It’s not perfect, and there is still more left to do, but it reflects a bipartisan compromise I always knew was possible.”

The AP outlined the “key elements” of the transportation bill, including allocating “$200 million to help commuter railroads install positive train control technology” and requiring that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration remove truck companies safety scores from a public website. The bill also places a “focus” on so-called “freight-corridors” by designating $4.5 billion “for a new competitive grant program for nationally significant freight and highway projects and $6.3 billion for a national highway freight program that uses a formula to apportion money to states.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reported that the bill contains “dozens of policy changes that could affect drivers, riders and anyone else who uses, builds or renovates the nation’s roads, bridges, rails and transit systems.” It goes on to detail a number of those provisions, which the Times said have “garnered little attention.”

What This Means For Small Businesses

Small businesses rely upon safe, efficient roads, bridges, and other infrastructure to ship and receive goods. Passage of funding measures for US highways may provide some relief from concerns about crumbling infrastructure across the US.

Additional Reading

The Roseburg (OR) News-Review and NPR were among additional outlets covering the bill’s passage.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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