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Flawed highway bill stabilizes flat funding levels through 2014

Sources: Portland Cement Association, Washington Office; National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Silver Spring, Md.; CP staff

Although it represents no real gain in dollars made available via years of short-term extensions, HR 4348, which morphed into Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, or MAP-21, was signed into law by President Obama two days after the July 4 holiday.

A two-year (FY2013-14, for a total of 27 months), $105 billion extension of the federal highway bill, MAP-21's ceremonial signing occurred at the White House with construction workers on hand to represent putting Americas to work repairing the nation's crumbling roads and bridges. The U.S. House and Senate approved the legislation a week prior to its signing, with bipartisan votes of 373-52 and 74-19, respectively, ending nearly three years of temporary, often 11th-hour, funding measures for surface transportation. By comparison, the previous bill known as SAFETEA-LU lasted four years and funded $244 billion in projects. It expired in September 2009, leading to a continuing series of nine short-term extensions.

MAP-21 includes a directive for the Transportation Secretary to issue regulations requiring the use of electronic logging devices—also known as electronic on-board recorders (EOBR)—in commercial motor vehicles for recording drivers’ hours of service. NRMCA was among trucking industry-aligned groups strongly opposing the EOBR mandate, and will continue work with them to secure an exemption for short haul conditions. An amendment curtailing the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of coal ash, negating any “hazardous waste” designation, was dropped as House and Senate staff concluded negotiations resulting in MAP-21.