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Congress kicks into high gear on transportation — let’s summarize the action

During an extremely busy week in the Senate in several key committees, a long-term transportation bill was introduced and approved, a bill to invest in and begin upgrading our nation’s passenger rail system was approved, Senate financiers continued discussing possible ways to keep our nation’s transportation fund afloat, and appropriators restored one cut to key transportation program made by the House — though not all, unfortunately.

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Senate Committee rolls forward with speedy markup of six-year transportation bill

In a committee markup where the phrase “doing the Lord’s work” was invoked by numerous members sides of the aisle, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee sped through a markup of their draft six-year transportation bill in less than an hour this morning, approving it by a unanimous vote with no amendments, save for a manager’s package of amendments agreed to in advance.

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Senate’s new transportation bill is a good start, but more should be done for local communities

At long last, there’s finally some progress to report on a new long-term federal transportation bill. Today, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released their draft six-year transportation bill. While we think it’s a good starting point, there are some promising proposals to improve it dramatically during a planned markup tomorrow.

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New Smart Growth America report details why so many companies are moving downtown

Launched at a terrific event at Washington, DC’s Newseum just this morning, Core Values, this first-of-its-kind report is stuffed with useful data on nearly 500 companies that have decided to either move from the suburbs to a downtown location, or that have decided to expand or open a new branch in a downtown core.

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House takes first step in process to keep the nation’s transportation fund solvent

For the first time since 2012, the House of Representatives held a hearing focused on funding the nation’s transportation system. Today’s hearing focused on the elephant in the room: how to adequately fund a transportation bill that’s longer than just a few months. While it’s a relief to see the funding issue finally getting airtime in the House, keeping the nation’s transportation fund solvent is only half of the problem — we also need to update the broken federal program that isn’t meeting our country’s needs.

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US House approves bill by a thin margin that makes cuts to TIGER, transit construction and passenger rail

Late Tuesday night, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass their yearly transportation spending bill with just 6 votes separating the bill from defeat. While the cuts to TIGER, Amtrak and New Starts transit capital programs were unfortunately approved by the House, it’s unlikely this bill will become law any time soon. That’s because of the Senate’s likely inability to pass any annual spending bills this summer due to the parties’ lack of agreement on overall funding for the government this year.

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Louisiana legislature makes a paradigm shift to better prioritize transportation dollars and restore public confidence

Raising new state funds for transportation can be a tough sell, especially if taxpayers don’t have any faith in the process for spending the money already available. Making that process more transparent, accountable and understandable can be a smart first step to increase public support for raising new transportation funding — one hope behind a bill in Louisiana that cleared the state House and Senate by unanimous votes last week.

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UPDATE: The House is voting to slash transportation programs local communities are counting on

This evening, the House of Representatives is expected to begin debate and vote on their annual transportation funding bill. As it stands, the bill will make painful cuts to several important transportation programs that local communities depend on. With debate beginning tonight at 7 p.m., it’s crucial that we weigh in as soon as possible.

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House extends MAP-21 to July 31, aligning it with impending insolvency of nation’s transportation fund

After a short debate, The House of Representatives voted to extend MAP-21 for two months past its May 31st expiration to the end of July, aligning the end of the nation’s transportation law with the projected insolvency of the nation’s transportation fund. The Senate is expected to act Wednesday or Thursday to approve the bill before the Memorial Day recess begins.

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Would increasing federal transportation investment be enough to solve our problems?

Two mayors from very different cities penned a joint op-ed in the New York Times highlighting the need for Congress to pass a long-term transportation bill and raise new revenues to increase the United States’ overall investment in transportation infrastructure. But their strong piece begs another question: Would raising the level of federal investment be enough to meet our pressing local needs without some major policy changes and reforms to the federal transportation program?

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