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Legislative Update: Senate, House Committees Approve Surface Transportation Bills

February 2012

On February 2, 2012, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved a major surface transportation bill that would authorize federal highway programs for five years. The bill would renew the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) for five years at a funding level of $470 million per year. The legislation writes into law the current floor and ceiling that ARC uses in distributing ADHS funds; the apportionment of AHDS funds would continue to be based on the most recent cost-to-complete estimate. The bill would permit the use of toll credits to satisfy the state funding match requirement, and ADHS funds could continue to be used for access roads. The House leadership hopes to bring the measure to the floor for consideration the week of February 13.

Also on February 2, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs completed work on the public transportation section of the Senate version of the surface transportation bill, which is a two-year bill. The committee approved the authorization of a new Appalachian Development Public Transportation Program. The program is authorized at a funding level of $20 million a year, and funds would be distributed according to ARC's highway distribution formula. In late 2011 the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works approved the highway title of the legislation, which would eliminate dedicated funding for the Appalachian Development Highway System but make the ADHS an activity for which states could use a new Transportation Mobility block grant. It does not appear that access roads would be eligible for funding under this block grant.

The measure will now go to the Senate floor for consideration.