The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly (74 to 22) today to adopt its surface transportation bill (S. 1813), also known as MAP-21. The bill, championed by U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and James Inhofe (R-OK), represents an unusual triumph of bipartisan legislating in the current Congress. The bill will fund surface transportation projects through 2013 at a cost of $109 billion. The bill includes an innovative finance section, entitled America Fast Forward (title II of Division A of the bill) that was the product of LA Metro’s Board-approved plan to accelerate the Measure R funded highway and transit program. As recently as last week, Senator Boxer praised her strong working relationship with Los Angeles County transportation leaders in crafting her bill, namely the America Fast Forward title of S. 1813.
The U.S. House of Representatives is in recess this week. The House leadership expects to work on their surface transportation bill (HR 7) in a yet-to-be determined form when they come back to Washington next week. Metro's federal team is actively engaging with the Los Angeles County House Delegation to ensure that they and their aides have all the information they need on the Board-approved legislative program should the House bring HR 7 to a vote next week. The current surface transportation bill extension expires on March 31, 2012.