House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar D-Minn.) says he plans to unveil a new multi-year surface transportation bill in "a couple of weeks" and adds that it will move to the House floor during the first week of June.
Oberstar, who discussed the legislation at an Apr. 24 press conference, declined to disclose the price tag for the measure, which his panel's staff is now drafting. But highway and transit groups released a report that says annual capital spending by all levels of government must more than double to meet projected needs.
The report, issued Apr. 24 by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and American Public Transportation Association, says that highway spending requirements would reach $132 billion to $166 billion per year by 2015, depending on the rate of traffic growth. By comparison, federal and nonfederal government capital spending totaled $78 billion in 2006.
For transit, the AASHTO-APTA report says annual capital spending must reach $46 billion to $59 billion in 2015, depending on ridership growth. The 2006 transit capital spending was $13.3 billion.
Oberstar's new transportation bill would authorize only federal funds, which account for about 40% of total surface transportation capital spending.
John Horsley, AASHTO's executive director, says that his group is proposing a total of $375 billion in federal funds for highways in a new six-year authorization bill. Under that plan, highway aid would rise from about $43 billion now to $75 billion per year by the end of that period.
For transit, APTA proposes $123 billion over six years. AASHTO's transit proposal is lower--totaling $93 billion over six years. which would allow annual spending to climb $10.5 billion to $18.5 billion a year.