Congress Passes Two-Year Reauthorization – Finally!
Monday, July 2, 2012
After over 33 months of extension after extension the United States Congress has finally passed a transportation reauthorization bill that will set federal funding on infrastructure through September 30, 2014.
Since most of the bill’s new provisions take effect October 1, 2012, the bill is essentially a final 3-month extension of SAFETEA-LU combined with a new two-year authorization of the federal highway, transit and safety programs. This two-year authorization will finally give state and federal regulators a more stable environment to plan ahead for the future and prioritize the infrastructure needs here in Michigan.
Although a 2-year plan does stabilize funding for the immediate future, there continues to be a significant shortfall in Michigan and throughout the United States. The newly passed “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” funds the federal highway and transit investment at slightly lower levels than the current existing program. However, several provisions were put into place to allow more flexibility for states to allocate revenues towards their intended purposes. Several restrictions found in previous funding bills were removed to ensure that money distributed to states can be maximized for construction projects.
The bill also includes several significant changes to the review and approval process for transportation projects. This will allow for projects to receive faster approval and move more efficiently by avoiding some unnecessary red tape that MITA members and the heavy construction industry throughout the country have voiced their concerns over for years.
For Michigan specifically, funding from the federal level will slightly increase for the next two years. Michigan will receive just over $1 billion for its transportation programs and with more flexibility on how that money is spent. We anticipate that will mean slightly more money put into projects throughout the entire state.
As details of this monumental and overdue reauthorization continue to become available, MITA will update the membership accordingly.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact Mike Nystrom at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lance Binoniemi at email@example.com or call them at the MITA office at 517-347-8336.