Rounds-Supported Bill to Improve Highways and Bridges Advances out of Senate EPW Committee
WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today made the following statement after the committee voted to advance bipartisan legislation to improve our nation’s roads and bridges.
“Today, the Senate EPW Committee took an important step toward improving our nation’s roads and bridges, which benefits every American and helps keep our economy strong,” said Rounds. “This legislation makes our roads and bridges more reliable, cuts red tape so that projects can be done more efficiently, and provides new infrastructure opportunities for generations to come. Additionally, I’m pleased that both sides have agreed that the package will be fully paid for. Without safe and reliable transportation infrastructure, producers and businesses would suffer. The America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act is a good step toward improving critical infrastructure in South Dakota and across the country.”
“Additionally, this legislation includes a number of provisions to improve the Tribal Transportation Program. Recent reports have highlighted deteriorating road conditions on the Cheyenne River Reservation and other Tribal lands throughout the state. This is unacceptable. The bill we passed out of committee today increases the Tribal Transportation Program funding by $60 million, sets aside $100 million over five years for a bridge and road program for tribal projects and provides $250 million over five years in dedicated funding for the Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects program, which will fund the construction and rehabilitation of nationally-significant projects on federal and tribal lands.”
- The current infrastructure package, the FAST Act, expires in October 2020.
- The bill authorizes $287 billion over five years, including $259 billion for formula programs to maintain and repair America’s roads and bridges.
- This is an increase of more than 27 percent from FAST Act levels.
- Maintaining at least 90 percent of the funding distributed through formula programs was a top priority for the state of South Dakota.
- This bill also reduces regulations and streamlines environmental reviews for major infrastructure projects, which were top priorities for Sen. Rounds and the South Dakota Department of Transportation.
- The legislation includes provisions to improve road safety, streamline project delivery, protect the environment and grow the economy.
- The committee leaders have agreed the legislation should be paid for.
Background on provisions to improve the Tribal Transportation Program:
- Increases the Tribal Transportation Program to $565 million in year one, increasing to $625 million in year five.
- This is an increase from $505 million the last year of the FAST Act, a $60 million increase.
- Sets aside $100 million over five years for a competitive bridge and road program for tribal projects.
- Provides $250 million over five years in dedicated funding for the Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects program, which will fund the construction and rehabilitation of nationally-significant projects on federal and tribal lands.