The House has overwhelmingly approved a five-year, 305 billion dollar transportation bill that boosts highway and transit spending. Oregon’s U-S Congressman Peter DeFazio was the lead Democratic Negotiator on the bill.
DeFazio says over the next 5 years under the FAST Act, Oregon should receive more than two-point-six billion dollars in funds to rebuild and replace crumbling highways and bridges.
DeFazio: "There’s things in here that are really important to Oregon that aren’t real favored by Republican leadership here like transportation alternatives, cycling, pedestrian. We actually got an increase there. We’ve got a really interesting little provision to help pollinators, to allow states to use federal money to plant pollinated plants for bees and monarch butterflies, sort of migration routes.”
The bill is being praised as a major accomplishment for ending the last-minute, short-term extensions which have kept the federal Highway Trust Fund on the edge of insolvency for much of the past 8 years.
The bill doesn't include as much money as Democrats would have liked. It also doesn't resolve how to pay for transportation programs in the long term. Senate action on the bill is expected soon.