U.S. Representative Frank Guinta (R, NH-01) Friday voted in support of H.R. 4348, the Surface Transportation Act of 2012 and Accompanying Conference Report. The House approved the bill in a strongly bipartisan vote of 373 to 52.
Popularly known as the "highway bill," the measure reauthorizes federal surface transportation programs and extends the authority to appropriate funds from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for federal highway and surface transportation programs for more than two years, through September 30, 2014. The Conference Report limits Federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs to $39.69 billion for FY 2013 and $40.25 billion for FY 2014, and includes offsets to fully pay for the shortfall between transportation spending levels and HTF tax revenue.
The Conference Report contains two provisions authored by Representative Guinta, which both received broad, bipartisan support. One encourages the use of three-dimensional computer technology (3D) in the design and construction of federally-funded road and highway projects. An average highway construction project can take years from planning to finish, sometimes resulting in hundreds of millions in cost overruns. Using 3D technology can produce a significant saving of time and money. The other provision fights fraud in the trucking industry. It increases the amount of a surety bond that truckers are required to pay from the current $10,000 to $75,000. Industry leaders say this fix would go a long way in reducing the small number of people who take advantage of the low bond rate to defraud businesses.
Representative Guinta said after the vote: "This bill provides certainty for job creators, the construction industry, and state and local governments for the next two years. It also clears the way for the creation of much-needed new jobs, and means work won't stop on existing transportation projects. I'm grateful this legislation includes the provisions I authored to increase efficiency and lower costs in transportation project design by using 3-dimensional technology, and to root out fraud in the trucking industry. This bill's passage shows what we can accomplish when both parties and both chambers work together for the common good."
Representative Guinta serves on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.