ATM Commends Senate Passage of FAST Act
Urges Expedient Signing by President, Continued Pursuit of Sustainable Approach
WASHINGTON, D.C. / FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 4, 2015
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WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Americans for Transportation Mobility (ATM) Coalition commended members the U.S. Senate for their rapid passage and overwhelming support for the “Funding America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act,” a $305 billion bill that extends federal transportation funding for the next five years with federal gas tax revenue at the current level and a package of offsets from other areas of the federal budget.
“The Senate showed tremendous leadership in their expeditious approval of the FAST Act,” said Ed Mortimer, executive director of the ATM Coalition and executive director of Transportation Infrastructure, Congressional and Public Affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which leads the ATM Coalition. “Once signed into law, this bill will begin to provide certainty, which up to this point has been severely lacking for states and cities as they’ve sought to plan and carry out projects to meet the transportation needs of their citizens.”
The FAST Act also seeks to provide greater flexibility for state and local governments in spending on necessary projects and an expanded focus on transportation projects that are national or regional in scope.
“Every consumer has experienced lost time and needless vehicle repairs, and every business has been hit by lost productivity and delayed shipments,” said Mike Acott, President of the National Asphalt Pavement Association. “A long-term bill that begins to address these issues – which stem from a chronic underfunding of the Highway Trust Fund – is in the best interest of Americans and American business.”
“The overwhelming, bipartisan vote for passage of the FAST Act shows once again that transportation infrastructure is a thread that has the capacity to bind America—whether it is red, blue or purple,” said American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President & CEO Pete Ruane. Ruane added that, while there are a number of things to like about the FAST Act, “Congress and the Obama Administration also fell short in providing the level of investment that would result in demonstrable improvement in the overall physical conditions, performance and safety of the system.”
Despite optimism over the passage of the FAST Act, ATM Coalition members believe Congress must continue to pursue dependable sources of funding that will meet the nation’s infrastructure needs for the long term. ‘It is a good thing for American communities, businesses and consumers that we’re not facing a series of short-term patches any time soon,” said Thomas W. Smith III, F.ASCE, Executive Director, American Society Of Civil Engineers. “But it’s not too soon to start looking down the road at the enduring need for sustainable funding solutions to put this critical national program back on solid footing for the next decade.”
“Ultimately the country needs a dedicated, sustainable funding source to meet the nation’s tremendous and still growing transportation infrastructure needs,” said Mortimer. “However the FAST Act is a bipartisan compromise that will provide states across America with certainty around which they can plan and carry out critical transportation projects for at least five years.”
“American manufacturers have advocated for years in a unified way, calling on Congress to act through legislation that will help reduce congestion and save lives through modernizing U.S. transportation infrastructure,” said Dennis Slater, the president of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. “Congress heard those calls for action and took a step in the direction that puts America’s federal transportation program back on track.”
The Americans for Transportation Mobility Coalition is a collaborative effort by business, labor, transportation stakeholders and concerned citizens to advocate for improved and increased federal investment in the nation’s aging and overburdened transportation system. The coalition believes the deterioration of the nation’s transportation system undermines the economy, jeopardizes our safety, threatens our quality of life, and harms the environment.