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US Congress agreement on new transportation bill

On 1 December the US House of Representatives and the Senate finally reached agreement on a five-year USD305bn transportation bill, needed to avoid the cycle of temporary extensions and threatened shutdowns of transportation programmes.

On 1 December the US House of Representatives and the Senate finally reached agreement on a five-year USD305bn transportation bill, needed to avoid the cycle of temporary extensions and threatened shutdowns of transportation programmes that have bedevilled Congress for seven years.

The 1300-page bill, signed into law as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act by President Barack Obama on 4 December, came after negotiations between Republicans and Democrats, and boosts highway spending by 15% and transit spending by 18% by 2020.

US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx said: “After hundreds of Congressional meetings, two bus tours, visits to 43 states, and so much uncertainty – and 36 short term extensions – it has been a long and bumpy ride to a long-term transportation bill. It’s not perfect, and there is still more left to do, but it reflects a bipartisan compromise I always knew was possible.”

Originally the Democrat administration sent a USD478bn six-year bill to Congress, but both houses are controlled by Republicans.