United States Sen. Deb Fischer praises the five-year, $305 billion transportation bill working its way through Congress.
Fischer had a direct hand in shaping the measure, a compromise between the Senate and House versions. Fischer is a member of the Senate transportation committee and served on the conference committee which negotiated the final agreement.
Some have criticized the bill for failing to fully shore-up the Highway Trust Fund. The trust fund will provide $281 billion with the remaining funding coming through a variety of ways, including cuts in the dividend payments the Federal Reserve makes to large banks.
Dismissing such criticism, Fischer calls the bill a major accomplishment to settle on a long-range bill.
“I am proud of the product we have,” Fischer tells reporters in a conference call. “I think it will provide certainty that we need for our state, for our cities, for our counties, for all Nebraskans in building that infrastructure which is a core responsibility of government.”
Fischer says the bottom line is that the compromise measure contains the money needed to finance streets, roads, bridges, public transportation, and other services for the next five years.
“The ‘pay fors’ are there,” Fischer says. “These are not gimmicks, I can assure you of that, because some of the different organizations or groups that have been hit with these ‘pay fors’ have expressed concern about that. So, these are real ‘pay fors.’ The funding, the revenue, will be available.”
Nebraska is slated to see $1.5 billion from the transportation bill over the next five years.