Today, Congressman Sires joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives in passing H.R. 4348, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012 by a vote of 373-52. This legislation authorizes highway and transit programs at current levels through September 2014.
"While I would have preferred a surface transportation bill of a longer duration, I am pleased that we have passed a surface transportation bill with over two years of funding which will provide much needed certainty for New Jersey businesses and local transportation agencies," said Congressman Sires. "Not everything in this legislation is what I hoped for, but ultimately this bill is necessary to maintain infrastructure that is critical to our economy, and is estimated to create or save more than two million jobs."
Under H.R. 4348, highways and mass transit programs will be funded at $120 billion and is fully paid-for. New Jersey is estimated to receive over $960 million each year for the next two years for federal-aid highway funding. Mass-transit program funding will remain level and transit safety will be strengthened through comprehensive safety plans. Project delivery will be streamlined and transportation programs will be consolidated from approximately sixty programs into four core programs. Additionally, the bill includes language to provide veterans preference for transit construction projects.
"Construction workers in New Jersey will be able to get back to work, local agencies will be able to plan for large projects, and commuters will be safer," said Sires. "This legislation finally ends the series of short term extensions, but now we must think ahead to 2014 when Congress will have to pass what I hope will be a more comprehensive authorization to better address our nation's transportation needs."