Today, the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee approved Chairman Tim Johnson's (D-SD) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby's (R-AL) Federal Public Transportation Act of 2012. The two-year reauthorization and reform of federal public transportation programs was passed with unanimous bipartisan support, and will now move to the full Senate for consideration.
"This legislation is an investment in our nation's infrastructure, and ensures our public transportation systems have the resources they need to provide safe and reliable service to millions of American families and commuters," said Chairman Johnson. "This bill makes much-needed reforms, eliminates earmarks, and cuts through red tape to ensure transit programs are funded quickly and efficiently. I thank Ranking Member Shelby and Subcommittee Chairman Menendez for their important contributions, and I think the overwhelming bipartisan support this bill received is a testament to the Committee's ability to find common ground."
"I am pleased to work with Chairman Johnson in crafting and advancing a reauthorization bill that includes much needed reforms and provides the funding certainty necessary to deliver efficient and effective public transportation services," said Shelby.
The Senate Banking Committee is responsible for authorizing the transit portion of the federal surface transportation program, which includes rural bus transit systems as well as urban mass transit. The new bill eliminates earmarks while maintaining current funding levels, improves safety oversight, and streamlines the construction of public transportation projects. Public transportation systems create and sustain hundreds of thousands of jobs across the nation, while providing millions of commuters with a safe ride to and from work.
The Federal Public Transportation Act will:
· Reauthorize federal public transportation programs at current funding levels for two fiscal years.
· Improve the safety of public transportation systems by improving the effectiveness of federal and state oversight and requiring public transportation safety plans at transit agencies.
· Establish a system to monitor and manage public transportation assets to improve safety and increase reliability and performance.
· Streamline the New Starts process for transit construction to accelerate project delivery by eliminating duplicative steps and speed federal decision-making.
· Establish a State of Good Repair program to assist public transportation systems in addressing the backlog of maintenance needs.
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