As summer construction season begins in Minnesota, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today took to the floor of the U.S. Senate to call on the House of Representatives to pass the Surface Transportation reauthorization legislation that includes critical investments in Minnesota's transportation system. The bill passed the Senate in March with a bipartisan vote of 74-22 but has stalled in the House, despite the fact that the current Surface Transportation bill expires June 30. The bill includes $700 million annually for Minnesota transportation and infrastructure projects, as well as key provisions Klobuchar championed to improve driver safety and support rural communities.
"Every Minnesotan knows we have only two seasons, winter and road construction. As our summer construction season begins, it is critical that we pass this legislation to pave the way for important investments in Minnesota's roads and bridges, giving a much-needed boost to local economies and helping make our roads safer for families," Klobuchar said."The Senate has passed this legislation with broad bipartisan support, and now it is time for the House of Representatives to take immediate action and get this bill done."
Klobuchar's initiatives to improve driver safety include incentives for states to ban texting while driving and to implement graduated drivers licenses programs; allowing states to support teen peer-to-peer efforts to promote safe driving; and updating lighting and marking standards for agriculture machinery that travel on rural roads.
Klobuchar serves on the U.S. Commerce Committee and secured the passage of four amendments in the Surface Transportation bill:
Agriculture Hours-of-Service: Klobuchar's bipartisan provision would fully restore the Agriculture Hours-of-Service exemption across the full food and farm supply chain, making it easier for farmers to transport goods and get products to the market during critical planting and harvesting seasons.
Recreational Trails Program: Klobuchar worked with a bipartisan group of senators to secure the continuation of the Recreational Trails Program, which had been cut from the original Surface Transportation legislation. The program helps maintain recreational trails for snowmobilers and outdoor enthusiasts in Minnesota and across the country.
Improving Safety on High Risk Rural Roads: Klobuchar's amendment would establish best practices to highlight cost-effective roadway safety infrastructure improvements on high-risk rural roads to reduce crashes that result in fatalities or severe injury. Rural roads have a traffic fatality rate that is more than three times higher than all other roads.
Improving Rural Transportation Planning:Klobuchar's initiative would give local officials in rural communities greater say in making transportation planning and spending decisions.