Government Issues

FAST Act legislation to spur transportation infrastructure improvements

Posted on December 22, 2015

The recently enacted Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act will provide stability and predictability for state and local governments as they undertake improvements to the nation’s transportation infrastructure, according to WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, one of the world's top engineering and professional services consulting firms and a leader in the U.S. transportation industry for more than a century.

The FAST Act authorizes $305 billion in funding for federal surface transportation programs for fiscal year (FY) 2016 through FY 2020 with funding for 2016 at $58.2 billion, which is $3.6 billion or 6.6% above 2015 levels. The bill ends a long period of flat federal funding and provides for growth at a rate of 3.2% from 2015 to 2020.  

“The FAST Act provides modestly enhanced levels of funding to improve highways, bridges, transit systems, and passenger rail, and has broad implications for the nation’s economy and environment,” said Greg Kelly, president/CEO of the U.S., Central and South America region of WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff. “When combined with recent state and local increases, overall funding for transportation capital investment in the U.S. will experience real growth for the first time since 2010.”

Greg Kelly, president/CEO of the U.S., Central and South America region of WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff.
Greg Kelly, president/CEO of the U.S., Central and South America region of WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff.

According to Kelly, the legislation will have a positive and balanced impact on funding levels for all states and across modes of surface transportation. “Higher federal funding levels will enable state departments of transportation and transit agencies to invest in critical new capacity and capital maintenance projects,” he explained. “Just as important, the FAST Act will provide much-needed funding predictability and stability, making large, complex projects more feasible.”

Highlights of the legislation include:

  • Ninety-two percent of funding authorized in the FAST Act is “contract authority” and does not require appropriations. The bill does not include any project earmarks but continues and expands the use of competitive grant programs.  
  • For the first time, funding for passenger rail ($10.4 billion) is included in the traditionally highway/transit-only bill, including $2.6 billion designated for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.
  • The law includes two new freight programs which provide $10.8 billion over five years for highway and multimodal (including port and rail) freight projects.  
  • The FAST Act includes several new discretionary grant programs, including a freight grant program, a bus and bus facility grant program and three discretionary programs for intercity passenger rail.  

“While establishing a clear course for future infrastructure improvements, the FAST Act does not address the long-term systemic funding issue in which user fee revenues — including the federal gas tax, which has not been increased since 1993 — are not keeping pace with spending authorizations,” Kelly concluded. “By relying on one-time revenue sources, the legislation actually increases the funding gap that will exist when the authorization expires in 2020, meaning a permanent source of adequate funding will be necessary at some point in the not-too-distant future.”

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

APTA chief calls for streamlining, expediting capital investment grants

With current and future projects seeking $27 billion in funds, Congress urged to provide funding at or above FY2019 levels.

House passes bill banning usage of Fed funds for Chinese rolling stock

The authors assert Chinese state-owned and state-supported enterprises have used subsidized “bargain prices” well-below competitive market price to win contracts throughout the U.S.

Bill to strengthen Buy America requirements reintroduced in Congress

When certifying that materials used in construction are “Made in America,” the bill requires DOC to ensure support of American jobs.

Support for raising Federal gas tax continues to rise, finds Mineta report

Seventy-five percent of respondents supported a 10¢ increase in the gas tax if the revenue raised is dedicated to maintenance projects.

FMCSA seeks input on 18-to-20-year-old interstate commercial drivers

Drivers ages 18-20 may currently only operate CMVs in intrastate commerce.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation