Hoeven: Senate Passes Short-Term Highway Bill to Ensure Funding While the House Finishes Long-Term Bill

Senate Passed Long-Term Bill in July, House Expected to Pass Long-Term Bill in Coming Weeks

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Senate has passed a short-term bill to ensure highway funding while the House of Representatives works to finalize its own long-term bill. The short-term patch extends highway funding through Nov. 20. The Senate passed a six-year highway bill in July, and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved a bipartisan six-year highway authorization measure, clearing the way for a House vote in the coming weeks.

“A long-term highway bill is essential for our nation and for North Dakota,” said Hoeven. “The good news here is that the House of Representatives is now moving to pass a long-term bill similar to the Senate’s bill. Today’s extension will give the House time to finalize their bill so we can get to conference and pass a long-term measure. We need the certainty of a long-term highway bill so we can plan and build the roads, bridges and other projects our communities need.”

The Senate’s long-term bill will provide North Dakota with more than $1.6 billion. Hoeven said the formula is favorable to North Dakota and increases highway funding for the state to $270 million, about $30 million a year more than it now receives. The bill also includes two measures introduced by Hoeven: the Driver Privacy Act and the Distracted Driving Act, which he led with Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

The Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act provides $350 billion in contract authority for the 2015-2021 period. The measure makes up for a lack of highway trust fund revenues by adding about $45 billion in offsets. The bill does not increase the deficit or taxes.

DRIVE Act Highlights for North Dakota:

  • Increases Transportation Funding for North Dakota by maintaining the federal aid highway formula structure and increasing the amount each state will receive every year.
  • ND will receive an average of $270 million a year in formula funding over six years, an average of $30 million more than current state funding.
  • Makes completing transportation projects easier by making National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) reforms, cutting red tape.
  • Provides six years of increased funding, giving state and local governments the certainty and stability they need to improve and develop our nation’s transportation infrastructure.
    • Increases Transit Funding to North Dakota from more than $14 million in the first year to more than $17 million by the sixth year. The bill increases funding for public transportation by more than $2 billion over MAP-21 levels.
    • Improves Safety: The bill’s safety and regulatory title makes important enhancements for safer highways as well as freight and passenger rail service through effective implementation of new technologies, new tools for federal safety watchdog agencies, reforming grant programs for states and transparency that promotes accountability.
    • Includes a New National Freight Strategy and Strategic Plan to improve freight transportation networks that serve agriculture, retail, manufacturing and energy sectors.
    • Includes the Federal Permitting Improvement Act to improve the permitting process for major capital projects across sectors, including energy.
    • Includes Funding Assistance for Major Projects (AMP) Program to provide grants for large projects of national or regional significance; includes at least a 20 percent set aside for rural areas.
    • Includes the Driver Privacy Act, legislation authored and sponsored by Hoeven to establish in law that the owner of a vehicle is also the owner of any information collected by an Event Data Recorder (EDR). Cosponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).
    • Includes the Distracted Driving Act as part of the Senate Highway bill. The Distracted Driving Act, introduced with Sen. Klobuchar, will help more states access federal distracted driving grant program funds.