After more than 20 hours of debate and consideration of 126 amendments, Congressman John Shimkus (R, Illinois-15) voted in support of a long-term transportation infrastructure bill on Thursday.
"With this highway bill, it's great to be back working to build infrastructure and grow jobs," said Shimkus. "From the heavy equipment to the men and women who operate them, this helps bring certainty."
The bill reauthorizes funding for state and local governments to undertake necessary and complex large-scale construction projects -- including roads, bridges, and public transportation systems -- as well as provide for the safe and efficient transport of hazardous materials.
Building on previous reform efforts by the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, the bill reduces delays with environmental reviews and permitting processes. It also eliminates duplicative regulatory processes by creating a pilot program to empower states to use their own existing environmental laws and regulations.
"By streamlining the permitting process, we again start reining in the EPA," added Shimkus.
The nation's surface transportation system is comprised of more than 4 million miles of public roads, 600,000 bridges, and 270,000 public transit route miles. Federal programs to maintain this system are primarily funded through taxes on motor fuels that are deposited into the Highway Trust Fund. States are required to provide matching funds for each project.