US transport bill reaches Senate, begs private capital

A US Senate committee has passed a transportation bill urging private sector involvement. The legislation, which faces a steep $12bn capital deficiency, has since been handed off to the entire Senate for a vote.

The 18-member US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee – a bipartisan effort co-sponsored by committee chairperson and California Senator Barbara Boxer – gave overwhelming support for a two-year transportation bill that is severely underfunded and shaped like a public-private partnership (PPP).

The fate of the proposal, known as the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century bill, now rests in the hands of the full US Senate.

Committee senators are calling on the Senate Finance Committee to uncover $12 billion in funding, which is the shortfall that threatens to stifle the bill’s intentions. The proposal is designed to create jobs and improve the safety and efficiency of state and national highway infrastructure.

“Our bipartisan highway bill is a jobs bill, an infrastructure bill which is designed to succeed and can succeed,” boasted Louisiana Senator David Vitter in a statement.  He goes on to say:

“Our reform approach, which has zero earmarks, will allow the state and MPOs [Metropolitan Planning Organizations] greater flexibility to work together with the private sector to meet their local transportation needs – with much less federal bureaucracy slowing down the process.”