House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James L. Oberstar (Minn.) today is releasing a white paper outlining plans for the new national surface transportation authorization bill.
The authorization bill is currently being drafted and will replace the current authorization, SAFETEA-LU (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users), which is due to expire on September 30, 2009. Oberstar has promised that the new authorization will transform the way the federal government invests highway, safety and transit funds.
Signed into law on August 10, 2005, SAFETEA-LU is the third in a string of “TEA” bills setting federal transportation policies for the post-Interstate Highway era, the predecessors being the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) and the 1998 Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). Whereas federal funding for decades focused on completing the nation’s Interstate Highway System, the TEA bills greatly expanded the range of investments and introduced flexibility in how moneys could be spent, while also giving a central role to metropolitan planning organizations like MTC in determining how to spend federal funding flowing to regions.