Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx promoted a six-year transportation bill passed by the Senate during his visit to Nebraska.
U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer hosted Secretary Foxx fresh off Senate passage of a six-year, $350 billion transportation bill.
“We’re making a commitment that we’re done with these short-term patches going forward,” Fischer stated during a news conference at Frontier Harley Davidson in Lincoln. “We need to get certainty back into our infrastructure and into our highway funding system.”
Foxx pointed out that Congress has approved 34 extensions to highway funding since 2009 and said he sees the Senate action as an encouraging sign that a long-term transportation bill is possible.
Though the bill goes a long way to providing certainty in transportation funding, it still falls short, according to Foxx.
“There’s a minimal level of funding the transportation system needs to maintain itself. And, at current funding levels, we’re still undershooting the target,” Foxx said.
Foxx acknowledged the House has yet to act, but says just to get a bill through the Senate is a big step. A temporary extension of current transportation funding has been passed to give Senate and House negotiators time to work on a long-term agreement.
Congress is on its August break. It returns to Washington next month.
The Senate bill provides money for road and bridge construction throughout the country as well as money for transit, railroad, and auto safety programs.
Prior to the news conference, Fischer and Foxx held a roundtable discussion at the University of Nebraska and visited the site of the Diverging Diamond Interchange Highway project.
Fischer serves as the chairman of the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]