13 Things You Will Want to Know about the Senate’s Transportation Bill, MAP-21

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A summary and bill text of MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century) was released late Friday night by the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee. Here’s what you’ll want to know now about the bill’s proposals. I’ll provide more details on some of these aspects in the next few days:

  1. Maintains highways and transit funding at roughly current (funding, not revenue) levels for two years, about $109 billion.
  2. Provides States with at least 95% of what they pay in transportation taxes, but eliminates the underlying formula program distribution (see forthcoming story for explanation)
  3. Reduces “core” highway programs to five from seven
  4. Provides states more flexibility in how they use their money
  5. Consolidates surface transportation programs down to about 30 from the approximately 90
  6. Retains the Transportation Enhancements program but narrows changes project eligibility.  Museums are eliminated, and environmental mitigation is expanded.  In addition, in the set-aside in CMAQ TE competes with other projects as well, so in total the funding is reduced and the eligibility for the set-aside funds is greatly expanded. (h/t to Senator Merkley’s office for clarification.)
  7. Creates a National Freight Network Program
  8. Does not identify the source of the $12 billion needed to fully fund the proposal
  9. Streamlines project review and approval processes in order to expedite projects
  10. Requires States to meet certain accountability measures for the highway system within four years; States not meeting the standards would have to set aside some funding for maintenance until meeting the standards
  11. Continues the Projects of National and Regional Significance program, and authorizes $1b for 2013
  12. Contains no transit or rail, or safety sections (these will come later from the Banking-Housing and Commerce Committees, respectively)
  13. Has bipartisan support from the Chair Barbara Boxer, Ranking Republican Jim Inhofe, and the Democratic Chair and Ranking Republican of the Committee’s Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee.