The update from Metro’s government relations staff is below. The agency has been pushing for America Fast Forward legislation — to use government loans and financing to accelerate the building of transit and road projects — to be included in the bill.
A new multi-year bill was supposed to be passed by Congress two years ago. Fighting between Democrats and Republicans has delayed it, leading to several short-term renewals of the existing bill, which covered spending through fiscal year 2009 and was signed by President Bush in Aug. 2005.
The bill is also a chance for the federal government to lay out its transportation spending priorities for the next several years. For example, if the federal government wanted to greatly expand spending on transit, the multi-year bill would be the place to do it.
Despite a sustained effort by public transportation agencies, many Members of Congress, and a broad coalition of private sector organizations, Congress is poised to move consideration of a new federal transportation authorization bill to 2012. Efforts to reauthorize the previous surface transportation bill (SAFETEA-LU) in 2011 effectively ended this afternoon in Washington, DC when the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, John Mica (R-FL) announced that the legislative schedule next month would not permit him to move forward with a new transportation bill. The current extension of SAFETEA-LU is slated to expire on March 31, 2012. Our agency will continue to work diligently with Chairman Mica, Chairman Boxer of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and members of the Los Angeles County Congressional Delegation to ensure that our Board-approved legislative program is advanced in any transportation authorization bill considered by the second session of the 112th Congress in 2012.