The U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of the conference report for the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The measure passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support (372-52). A member of the conference committee, Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01) lauded the passage, noting that it will address critical transpiration needs and lead to the creation of thousands of jobs.
"I was pleased that the conference committee worked to find common ground between the versions passed in each chamber. While it isn't perfect, the legislation importantly addresses our country's transportation needs and helps to create thousands of jobs," said Bishop. "I was also pleased that the controversial Land and Water Conservation Fund was left out of the final bill and that the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and Secure Rural Schools (SRS) programs received a one-year extension. Many states including Utah rely upon these programs for support of many essential programs, especially education."
States with an overwhelming amount of federal land, such as Utah (68%), are deprived of property tax revenue that could otherwise be generated from the land if it was privately owned. Property tax is a key source of funding for essential state and local community services such as education, maintenance of roads and infrastructure, and first responders. Both PILT and SRS provide some compensation for the revenue shortfall. Congressman Bishop is helping lead efforts to find long-term solutions to the funding needs of public lands states, including ensuring the continued support from both PILT and SRS.