House Passes Six-Year, Bipartisan Surface Transportation Bill
Costello Amendments included in final passage
Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform (STRR) Act, bipartisan, multi-year legislation to reauthorize and reform federal highway, transit, and transportation safety programs.
This legislation now heads to a Conference Committee between the House and Senate to resolve differences between the STRR Act and legislation passed by the U.S. Senate earlier this year. The current Surface Transportation bill, enacted in 2012, expired in 2014 and has been extended through a series of short-term extensions. The STRR Act marks the first long-term highway bill to pass the House in a decade.
The STRR Act is a long-term federal commitment to invest, upgrade, and improve our transportation system and economy. This legislation would provide greater flexibility and certainty for states and local governments, maintain a strong federal commitment to transportation safety, and encourage greater innovation in our transportation networks and planning.
The final bill included an important measure, the Costello Amendment, which expands eligibility for funding for smaller Pennsylvania bridges and highway crossings projects in the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects grant program. In 2014 alone, Pennsylvania had 71 vehicle collisions at grade crossings, resulting in 7 deaths and 25 injuries. The Costello Amendment is a simple solution to help improve the safety at these roadway crossings – without increasing the cost to taxpayers of this program.
Following adoption, Congressman Costello applauded the approval of his amendment: “This amendment will have a direct impact on the safety of Pennsylvania’s roadways where many of our state’s grade crossings and bridges would otherwise have been excluded from this available funding based on the cost, not the merits or need, of the project.”
Also included in the STRR Act is a provision championed by Congressman Costello that would expand transportation options for commuters by encouraging greater coordination with employers and the private sector without imposing new mandates or increasing the Federal deficit.
Following passage of this critical bill, Congressman Costello issued the following statement: “This bill will bring much-needed investment and improvements to Southeastern Pennsylvania’s aging infrastructure and transportation systems. It prioritizes the efficiency and safety of our streets, bridges, rail lines, and public transportation systems. Getting this bill across the finish line has been a priority of mine since Day One and I am pleased to see it advance.”
On Tuesday, Congressman Costello spoke in support of his amendment on the House Floor. You can view his remarks here.
Congressman Costello is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and serves on the Highways and Transit, Aviation, and the Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittees.