The U.S. House of Representatives late Monday (Dec. 21) approved a massive Omnibus and COVID-relief catchall package with significant transportation aid.
The news comes after months of negotiations. The funding measure includes a $300 per week supplemental jobless benefit and $600 in direct stimulus payments. Highway and airport related provisions of the bill are in the THUD Appropriations portion (Division L) and in the COVID Response and Relief portion (Division M and N) of the massive spending measure.
According to reporting by Eno Center for Transportation, transportation aid in the $900 billion COVID portion includes $10 billion for State DOTs/Highways and $2 billion for Airports. The state DOT aid is something ACPA and other allies in the transportation construction sector has been advocating for since the scale of pandemic-related revenue losses to State DOTs became evident this past summer.
The THUD appropriations portion of the package looks to provide another $2 billion in supplemental funding for highways and an extra $400 million in general-fund revenue specifically for additional AIP discretionary grants available to all size airports. In another significant win for our industry, funding for the ACPA conceived and championed Airfield Pavement Technology Program (APTP) is included in the appropriations package. The APTP program, delivered with support from PCA and NAPA, is the basis for the CP Tech Center’s recent $3.5 million cooperative agreement with FAA.
“We’d like to thank our members for their efforts – particularly with getting the $10 billion in backfill funding for our DOTs included in the COVID package,” says Leif Wathne, Executive Vice President. “ACPA members, who in recent weeks reached out to their elected officials urging support for State DOT relief in the negotiated package to provide parity for highways, deserve a lot of credit.”
With the passage of this massive Omnibus and COVID relief measure in the lower chamber, we anticipate a vote in the Senate either later tonight or tomorrow.
It is important to note that the successful negotiations and compromise in the last serval days on this large legislative package give good reason for cautious optimism about the prospects of bipartisan cooperation on a long-term surface transportation bill during the first half of 2021.
ACPA will keep you posted as the process continues to move forward.
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