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ATA applauds passage of long-term highway bill

ARLINGTON, Va. – The American Trucking Association (ATA) is urging leaders in the US House of Representatives to waste no time moving a final, long-term highway bill to President Barack Obama’s desk.

“We congratulate Chairman (Bill) Shuster and ranking member (Peter) DeFazio for leading the passage of a long-term, bipartisan highway bill,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “Now we urge House and Senate leaders to come together on a final bill that increases highway investment to send to President Obama this year.”

The House of Representatives passed the six-year highway bill Nov. 5, a move praised by the ATA, which said it was encouraged to see a dedicated program for funding highway freight projects and streamlined environmental reviews of federally funded highway projects, as well as support from U.S. lawmakers by ‘soundly rejecting a resolution that endorsed devolving the funding of roads and bridges to each individual state.’

The ATA, however, continues to be concerned with what it said was the House and Senate’s ongoing vision of a prominent role for new interstate tolls, which the ATA believes to be inefficient and unpopular.

“We hope a final bill resolves that issue by avoiding the expansion of interstate tolling authority and, preferably, by eliminating existing loopholes,” the ATA said in a release.

“It is refreshing, after so much delay, that Congress appears poised to pass this important bill,” said ATA Chairman Pat Thomas, UPS senior vice-president of state government affairs. “But the job isn’t finished, and we look forward to Congress passing a long-term, well-funded bill that improves efficiency and safety on our highways.”

The House bill authorizes spending of $325 billion through until the 2021 federal budget year.

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