Legal Alerts Oct 21, 2015

Surface Transportation: Be Informed and Heard

New Federal Bill for Transportation Funding on the Road to Passage

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As we previously reported on our blog, Congress is racing toward an Oct. 29 expiration date for federal surface transportation programs critical funding. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Tuesday released H.R. 3763, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015. The bill is scheduled to be marked up by the Committee on Thursday and moved in the House on an expedited basis.

H.R. 3763 provides roughly $260 billion in highway funding and $55 billion in transit funding over the next six years, but fails to identify funding sources for the last three years of the proposed program. The lack of identified funding sources could mean another “short-term” extension of the existing surface transportation programs to slip the October expiration date, with a fuller bill passed later this or early next year.

It is imperative that public entities have a state and federal advocacy plan in place to ensure any available opportunities for funding related to project planning or construction, through grants or otherwise, are not missed. As this important discussion for maintaining and improving our nation’s transportation infrastructure picks up again, it is critical that public agencies develop relationships with their congressional delegations so their representatives are aware of the entities’ needs and goals. This is in addition to tracking legislation, rulemakings and grant opportunities related to transportation infrastructure. By having a plan in place and understating the application process for any state or federal funding, agencies will increase their chances of being heard and receiving funding — which is even more important as access to funding continues to remain competitive.

Make no mistake: H.R. 3763 does not contain needed increases in funding to maintain, let alone modernize, the nation’s transportation infrastructure or better address congestion. H.R. 3763 will, however, jump start this important conversation.

Best Best & Krieger LLP attorneys and government relations professionals in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento, Calif. can assist in tracking developments related to funding for transportation infrastructure and assist your agency in ensuring your projects are part of this important conversation. For more information, contact one of the authors of this Legal Alert listed at right in the firm’s Government Relations Services group or your BB&K attorney.

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Disclaimer: BB&K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqué.

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