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HIRE Act a down payment on transportation priorities

When President Obama signed the HIRE Act into law last week, he ushered in important progress on several important transportation initiatives.

The Act extends current transportation law until December 31, 2010 and restores $19.5 billion in interest to the Highway Trust Fund. This works out to $14.7 billion for highways and $4.8 billion for mass transit. The HIRE Act also restores $8.7 billion in contract authority that was rescinded due to late Congressional action last September.

This clean extension is far superior to the stop-gap measures of the past several months. State Departments of Transportation and regional officials can now move forward on new projects with confidence.

Also of note, the Act extends the ability of urban areas to apply mass transit funding to operating assistance. Painful cuts to public transportation are a real drain on communities across America. This provision will help keep people in their jobs while helping commuters access jobs.

For a more thorough run-down of how the HIRE Act affects transportation, read this summary prepared by T4 America.