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House Passes Compromise Highway Bill


Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Steve Pearce released the following statement after a bipartisan House majority approved a two-year Transportation Reauthorization bill:

"Today's vote represents measurable progress towards creating jobs. The American people have asked for compromise in Washington and today both conservatives and liberals came together to pass a meaningful jobs bill. While I believe conservatives were on the shorter end of the compromise, I supported the bill which includes several important reforms and provisions for New Mexico."

The Surface Transportation Extension Act did include HR 6017, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Congressman Steve Pearce, which waives the 30-day waiting period for new flood insurance policies for residents in areas affected by wildfires on federal lands.

"I'm very glad to see that the language of HR 6017 will be included in the final version of the Surface Transportation Extension Act. Removing the 30-day waiting period for those who live in areas recently devastated by wildfires gives them a sense of security that their homes and livelihoods will be protected when the inevitable monsoon floods come later this summer. The people of New Mexico and the West in general know this situation all too well. This measure will ensure that they have a shot at protecting themselves from future disasters."

"The work we did with Senator Bingaman's staff in such a short period of time sets an example of what we can do for New Mexico when Members of Congress put aside their party difference, and decide to work in their constituents' interests. I look forward to finding other bipartisan solutions to the issues facing our country."

The Surface Transportation Extension Act also includes reforms giving the states some stability in planning for transportation projects, with a 2 year reauthorization; greater streamlining of environmental reviews for proposed transportation projects, primarily relating to the NEPA process; dropping $1.4 billion for Land & Water Conservation Fund; extending PILT and SRS funding for one year; and extending the current 3.4% interest rate for federally subsidized, undergraduate student loans.

Unfortunately, the compromise did not include Keystone language, coal-ash reform or the longer term 5-year extension the House was seeking. It did not contain the expanded oil & gas measures included in original House passed version. Finally, it doesn't address the looming insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund and some of the offsets they use come directly from fund transfers.

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