CONTACT: Mike Nystrom, MTT Co-Chair 517-347-8336 cell 517-896-1493
U.S. Senate Approves Bill that Increases Transportation Funding
LANSING, Mich. — The U.S. Senate advanced the Michigan Transportation Team’s goal of increased equity of highway funding for Michigan today when it passed the Safe Accountable Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act (SAFETEA) — S. 732. The measure passed by an overwhelming vote of 89-11 and promises to provide over $1 billion more than TEA 21 delivered to Michigan for transportation funding.
“Today’s Senate action gives Congress a chance to finally provide adequate transportation funding that will spur investment and job growth,” said Mike Nystrom, vice-president of government and public relations for the Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association and co-chair of MTT. “We appreciate the legislative heavy-lifting done by Senators Levin and Stabenow to address Michigan’s funding equity issue. Securing a fairer funding formula for Michigan has been our top legislative priority.”
SAFETEA will deliver approximately $250 million more highway dollars annually to Michigan over the remaining five years of this bill. It raises Michigan’s minimum guarantee rate of return for highway funds from the current 90.5 percent to 92 percent. The 92 percent rate would begin in the first year and last throughout the life of the legislation. SAFETEA now heads to a conference committee to be reconciled with the House-passed version of the bill.
“We are hopeful that the conference committee will be able to iron out swiftly any remaining differences — including protecting critical funding for border transportation issues that greatly effect Michigan — and get a bill the President can sign to his desk prior to the May 31 deadline for the current extension,” said Nystrom. “Michigan’s roads — Michigan’s economy — can not afford to wait any longer for a long-term federal highway funding plan.”
The mission of the more than 80 public and private organizations that make up the MTT is to improve Michigan’s well-known status as a “donor” state – a state which sends more federal gas tax money to the federal government than it gets in return – ¬by increasing Michigan’s fair share and getting back more of our own money. The coalition has been advocating for adequate funding for several years and SAFETEA is a marked improvement on earlier proposals.