12.03.15

Rounds: Long-Term Highway Bill Brings Certainty to Transportation Projects, Restores Crop Insurance Cut

South Dakota to Receive $1.6 Billion in Transportation Funding

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today issued the following statement on the Senate’s passage of the final Conference Report for the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, bipartisan legislation to fund America’s highway and transit programs for five years. The FAST Act allocates approximately $1.6 billion for South Dakota transportation projects over the next five years. It now heads to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.

“A healthy economy is dependent on a strong, safe and vibrant transportation system that allows us to move people and goods with ease,” said Rounds. “Under the FAST Act, South Dakota will receive approximately $1.6 billion in transportation funding to update, repair and modernize important infrastructure in our state. While not perfect, this legislation spares rural America from damaging crop insurance cuts and strengthens lending for community banks, in addition to authorizing important road and infrastructure projects.”

“The FAST Act also provides long-term certainty and ends the costly, ineffective practice of short-term highway bill extensions. Over the last 10 years, Congress has passed 36 short-term extensions, frustrating contractors and state and local governments who have been unable to adequately plan for future projects. Finally, they will be able to implement a long-term, strategic plan to restore, repair and update our roads and bridges.”

 

The FAST Act:

  • Authorizes and pays for five years of highway construction.
  • Marks the first time in 10 years a long-term highway bill will be enacted.
  • Prior to now, highway funding had been authorized through 36 temporary, short-term patches.

 

Other important provisions in the FAST Act:

  • Stops Harmful Crop Insurance Cuts: Repeals the misguided crop insurance cut that was included in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.
    • Rounds has been working to get rid of the $3 billion cut to the crop insurance program since it was announced it would be included in the Act. Prior to voting on the Act, House and Senate Leaders publicly offered to help restore these cuts, which is why Senator Rounds voted for it. Last week, he wrote to House and Senate leaders reinforcing his commitment to restoring the cut.
    • Ends Regulatory Burden on Mortgage Loans: Incorporates the Helping Expand Lending Practices in Rural Communities Act (HELP Rural Communities Act), co-sponsored by Rounds, which gives individuals in rural areas mistakenly labelled as “not rural” the right to petition the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for the area to be properly reclassified as “rural.” This relieves local community banks and credit unions from burdensome regulations that unfairly limit their ability to lend and allows residents greater access to mortgage loans. 

 

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