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President Obama signs 7 month extension of surface transportation law
Earlier today, President Obama signed the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011 to keep federal transportation dollars flowing to the states for the next seven months. The House voted 421 – 4 for the extension on Wednesday and the Senate passed it by voice vote without debate yesterday afternoon. The quick pace was brought about because the previous extension was set to expire at midnight tonight, which would have halted transportation construction projects across the country.
The extension gives states added security and the confidence to continue their current projects knowing that funding will continue. “For bicycling advocates, the extension means we are one step closer to having certainty about future of programs that fund bicycle and pedestrian projects,” said League President Andy Clarke.
Via the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), leaders from both parties welcomed the extension.
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-CA, said:
With the construction season upon us, this extension is especially important because it will give states the certainty they need to award contracts and get projects underway. This will help ensure that jobs are saved and created in California and across the country. I am continuing to work with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle on a new surface transportation bill for the 21st century. Our goal is to get this legislation enacted by the end of this year.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica, R-FL, said:
This extension of transportation programs will allow more time for the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to develop a fiscally responsible, long-term reauthorization of transportation programs to create jobs and build our nation’s infrastructure.
At the 2011 National Bike Summit next week, the League and advocates from across the country will work to preserve and increase funding for bicycling and walking in the next transportation authorization act.