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US Senate furthers bills

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World Cement,

Congress has made progress on bills that will impact the aggregates industry.

The 2017 transportation funding package has been advanced by the US Senate, with a total of US$56.5 billion in funding for the US Department of Transportation (DOT), Housing and Urban Development and related Agencies (THUD). The bill will fund 99.5% of Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act funding levels, with US$44 billion to highways and US$16.4 billion to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The NSSGA and the construction industry are concerned about the transfer of US$2,2 billion in unspent highway funds that is being allocated to other DOT programmes.

"We are pleased that Congress is working to pass the annual 2017 transportation spending bill and that both the Senate and House bills fund highways in accordance with the FAST Act,” remarked Pam Whitted, NSSGA senior vice president of government and regulatory affairs. “Hopefully, Congress will move forward on this appropriations bill and follow it with others to avoid a train wreck at the end of the fiscal year, which benefits no one.”

Additionally, on 19 May the Senate voted to add US$1.1 billion to the THUD bill in order to fund efforts to fight the Zika virus. No schedule has been set yet for votes on germane transportation amendments. The White House has threatened to veto the bull as it does not include funding for administration green growth transportation programmes and it includes less Zika funding that the Administration-proposed funding level of US$1.9 billion.

Meanwhile, the House Appropriations subcommittee charged with setting DOT spending levels approved a draft fiscal 2017 spending measure for THUD, totaling US$58.2 billion, an increase of US$1.7 billion over the Senate measure. The House bill has identical funding levels for highways, but FAA funding would see a slight increase to US$16.3 billion. Airport Improvement Programme funding is set at US$3.35 billion, the same as the Senate bill. Overall, the House bill would fund 99.7% of FAST Act obligations. It does not include a rescission of unobligated project funds.

Adapted from press release by

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