Congressman Rick Berg today announced the passage of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. This legislation provides a two-year reauthorization of federal highway, transit and other surface transportation programs. It also provides a five year reauthorization of the federal flood insurance program and prevents a federal student loan interest rate increase for federally subsidized loans.
"The reauthorization of the highway bill is terrific news for North Dakota," stated Berg. "This bill will help create stability and certainty in North Dakota as we continue to see unprecedented growth. Ongoing growth has created the need to maintain and expand our infrastructure to coincide with this expansion, and this legislation will help serve that purpose."
Under the legislation, funding for federal highway, transit and other surface transportation programs is extended through Sept. 30, 2014 at current levels with inflationary increases for certain programs. The legislation consolidates or eliminates dozens of programs and streamlines environmental reviews of proposed projects to more quickly begin construction.
The legislation also extends the federal flood insurance program for five years -- and contains needed reforms based on Berg's previously introduced amendment to protect individuals who have purchased flood insurance fewer than 30 days before the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declares a "flood in progress" and have not sustained damage or loss to property within the required 30-day waiting period.
"The policy previous to today's legislation failed to account for a long-lasting flood event like the one we have seen along the Missouri River," added Berg. "This amendment will protect individuals who have played by the rules. We need responsible policies that help plan for the uncertainty of natural disasters, and protect and help people."
The legislation also extends the 3.4 percent interest rate for new federally subsidized student loans for an additional year. The current student loan interest rate was set to expire on June 30, 2012.
The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act passed the House by a vote of 373-52. It also passed the Senate by 74-19 vote. It will now be sent to the President to be signed into law.