Transportation bill heading to President Obama's desk

This post comes from the United States Department of Transportation's blog, Fast Lane.  Below, Ray LaHood, US Secretary of Transportation discusses his thoughts on the new transportation bill.

More than 1000 days ago, the law that guided federal investments in transportation expired. Congress extended that law several times while legislators discussed and debated what would replace it. I'm happy to say that last Friday, 373 Members of the House of Representatives and 74 Senators voted in favor of a new law that will fund federal surface transportation policy through September 2014.

This is a good bill that will create jobs, strengthen our transportation system, and grow our economy.

Transportation moves our economy, so legislation that keeps America's transportation network operating safely and reliably is a national priority. And it's no secret that I have pressed steadily for our legislators to set aside politics and pass a bipartisan bill that puts America first.

So, it is welcome news that Congress has done that.
At DOT, where safety is our number one priority, we're excited to see a transportation plan that builds on our aggressive safety efforts, including our fight against distracted driving and our push to improve transit and motor carrier safety. Whether you ride transit, travel by inter-city buses, or enjoy driving, you deserve to know that we're doing everything we can to ensure your safety and the safety of your neighbors and loved ones on America's busy transportation network.

The new law helps DOT and the States continue that effort.

The bill also provides states and communities with two years of steady funding to build the roads, bridges and transit systems they need. That means jobs. With a series of extensions during the past three years, state departments of transportation were unable to plan beyond the short term. That means contractors and construction companies were unable to plan for big projects and unable to make the kind of employment decisions that put hard-working Americans back on the job.

With a 27-month horizon of infrastructure planning, men and women can get back to work building the roads, bridges, tunnels, and transit our economy needs to stay competitive.

Fashioning a national transportation law in the current political environment is no easy task. We all agree that efforts to move people and goods safely and effectively are critical to our economic security. But we don't always agree on how best to do that.

Last Friday, Congress completed the hard work of crafting a bill that garnered bipartisan support. Now, for the good of the nation, for the good of our states, and the good of our communities, it's time to put this bill to work.

Graph courtesy The Transport Politic