Senate Committee Introduces National Surface Transportation Policy Bill

From the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation


May 14, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Today, Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller, IV (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, introduced The Federal Surface Transportation Policy and Planning Act of 2009. This important legislation establishes a comprehensive and unifying mission for the nation’s surface transportation system.

“The United States’ population is projected to rise to 420 million people by 2050, a 50 percent increase from the year 2000. This growth will only exacerbate the congestion and mobility challenges that plague our national surface transportation system today. We need to establish a blueprint for a 21st century surface transportation system,” said Chairman Rockefeller. “This bill does just that. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues on this blueprint as we move forward on reauthorizing and reforming the surface transportation programs.”

“A national surface transportation policy for our country is long overdue,” Senator Lautenberg said. “We need a transportation policy that reestablishes our leadership throughout the world when it comes to transportation – and meets our country’s transportation demands for generations to come. This legislation will establish a national policy that improves safety, reduces congestion, creates jobs, and protects our environment.”

BACKGROUND

The surface transportation programs authorized under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: a Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) enacted in 2005 will expire at the end of this September. The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission created by SAFETEA-LU and other transportation policy experts have called for the creation of a cohesive national policy with performance-based outcomes, and a fundamental restructuring of the federal surface transportation programs. The Federal Surface Transportation Policy and Planning Act of 2009 establishes the foundation for making these reforms.

This introduction of The Federal Surface Transportation Policy and Planning Act of 2009 follows President Obama’s proclamation of the week of May 10th as National Transportation Week in recognition of the importance of the transportation infrastructure to our nation’s economy and security.

Summary of The Federal Surface Transportation Policy and Planning Act of 2009
The Federal Surface Transportation Policy and Planning Act of 2009 would lay out a strategic, integrated plan that will address the challenges to our national infrastructure and federal programs.

Major Goals of The Federal Surface Transportation Policy and Planning Act of 2009

• Reduce national per capita motor vehicle miles traveled on an annual basis;
• Reduce national motor vehicle-related fatalities by 50 percent by 2030;
• Reduce national surface transportation-generated carbon dioxide levels by 40 percent by 2030;
• Reduce national surface transportation delays per capita on an annual basis;
• Increase the percentage of system-critical surface transportation assets that are in a state of good repair by 20 percent by 2030;
• Increase the total usage of public transportation, intercity passenger rail services, and non-motorized transportation on an annual basis;
• Increase the proportion of national freight transportation provided by non-highway or multimodal services by 10 percent by 2020; and
• Reduce passenger and freight transportation delays and congestion at international points of entry on an annual basis.

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