The U.S. Senate on Wednesday, March 14, approved a two-year, $109 billion dollar surface transportation bill by a vote of 74-22. Georgia Senators Chambliss and Isakson both voted in favor of the bill. The Senate passed S. 1813 just 17 days before the current transportation funding authorization runs out.
The Senate bill reduces by about two-thirds the number of transportation programs. It also gives additional money to states to relieve congestion and reduce pollution, increases funding for highway safety, and expands a current program that encourages private investment.
Sen. Chambliss, in a conference call with city officials on March 15, said that GMA's priorities of keeping a set-aside for off-system bridges, as well as funding for transportation enhancements such as bike and pedestrian projects, are included in the bill. Proposed controversial increased truck weight limits, which GMA opposes, are not included.
The bill now moves on to the House for consideration. Congress faces a March 31 deadline to approve a new bill before the current transportation bill runs out.