WASHINGTON — Key lawmakers in the Senate yesterday introduced transportation legislation that would move the country away from driving as a primary mode of moving both people and goods, improve the quality of highway and bridge infrastructure, and provide the transportation secretary with significant new oversight and planning duties.
The bill, called the Federal Surface Transportation Policy and Planning Act, also would aim to reduce surface transportation-generated emissions by 40% by 2030.
Introduced by Sens. Jay Rockefeller 4th, D-W.Va., who chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., who chairs the surface transportation panel, the bill could comprise part of the legislation that will reauthorize surface transportation funding. The current law expires Sept. 30.
The bill would give the transportation secretary the ability to make changes in federal programs in order to meet its goals. The secretary also would oversee federally funded projects at the local, state, and national levels to make sure they are consistent with the policy as outlined in the bill.
In developing the plan, the secretary would have to consult with state and local governments, public transportation providers, and others.
The bill states that the system “shall be built, maintained, managed, and operated as a partnership between the federal, state, and local governments and the private sector,” and be linked with the air, rail, pipeline, and water transportation systems.