National League of Cities slams short-term transportation funding bill

Many cities have expressed their disappointment that Congress passed another short-term transformation funding bill this week, rather than a multi-year, long-term solution.

Ralph Becker, mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, and president of the National League of Cities (NLC), released a statement after Congress passed the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 (HR 3236), which includes a three-month extension of federal transportation funding.

"Today, for the 35th time in the past decade, Congress has passed a short-term extension to fund the nation's transportation systems,” Becker said. “While Congress has promised further consideration of a long-term bill in the fall, it's far too long overdue to have a real and robust long-term plan that would allow greater certainty in the planning process necessary for good projects that contribute to local economies.”

"Earlier today, the Senate passed the six-year DRIVE Act, affirming that the Senate is hearing the message from local officials that cities and towns need a long-term federal transportation bill that respects local decision making and that is oriented toward a future of metropolitan growth,” Becker said. “The bill would improve local control of transportation planning and funding under the Surface Transportation Program and the Transportation Alternatives Program. But there is much more that could -- and should -- be done. In particular, the DRIVE Act underfunds the Surface Transportation Program and, as a result, the bill would not completely eliminate the possibility of disruptions for local transportation projects. As the focus shifts across the Capitol, city leaders will be urging our champions in the House for a fix to this issue.”

"We applaud the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and its leadership, Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Ranking Member Barbara Boxer (D-CA), for introducing and managing a bill capable of garnering the support of a bipartisan majority,” Becker said. “Their efforts are a cause for optimism that Congress remains capable of responding to our nation's greatest needs, and we hope that their example can be followed on other unaddressed issues ranging from immigration to tax reform. And I appreciated the opportunity to meet with them in Washington earlier this month to discuss NLC's priorities as deliberations on their bill began."

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