President Clinton Signs Transportation Bill 21st Century
Date: 6/9/98 6:21:16 PM Central Daylight Time
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Office of the Secretary ~ Office of Public Affairs
Washington, DC 20590
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 9, 1998
Contact: Bill Adams
Tel.: (202) 366-5580
President Clinton Signs Transportation Bill for the Twenty-First Century
*Ensuring Global Competitiveness
*- In an increasingly global economy, keeping transportation efficient is
crucial to continued competitiveness and to taking advantage of the markets
opened by NAFTA and GATT.
*- TEA-21 provides balanced, accessible, integrated and efficient
transportation to advance America's economic growth and competitiveness, by
providing National Highway System (NHS) designated routes connectivity with
major intermodal transportation facilities and continuing a separate
Interstate System maintenance program.
* - TEA 21 establishes a border crossing program to improve the safe movement
of people and goods across the Canadian and Mexican borders and establishes a
program to plan, design and construct corridors of national significance
(Note: I.H. 35 chief among them) for international or interregional trade.
President Clinton today signed the Transportation Equity Act for the
21st Century (TEA-21), the six-year transportation reauthorization which
guarantees a record $198 billion investment, within the limits of the balanced
budget agreement, to maintain and improve America's surface transportation
systems for the 21st century.
"This landmark legislation provides for record levels of
investment in our transportation system while honoring the balanced budget
agreement," said President Clinton. "Working together with Congress, we have
built a firm foundation to move all America forward into the 21st century."
"President Clinton and Vice President Gore challenged us to help
rebuild America by putting safety first, protecting our environment and
creating jobs throughout our economy," said Secretary Slater. "Working with
Congress, we have produced a fiscally responsible bill which is true to our
values and will expand opportunity for every American."
Secretary Slater said the TEA-21 reflects the President's
priorities as outlined in his March 1997 proposal and focuses on
improving safety, rebuilding America, protecting the environment,
creating opportunity and ensuring global competitiveness.
More than 40,000 Americans die and three million are injured in motor
vehicle crashes each year, inflicting a tragic toll on millions of families.
In addition, these highway crashes cost the economy $150 billion annually,
including $14 billion paid directly by taxpayers for expenses such as health
care and emergency services. In response, TEA-21 provides strong incentive
programs to promote seat belt use and establishes an aggressive timetable for
developing and implementing advanced air bag technologies. It also includes
an incentive program to encourage states to adopt .08 blood alcohol content
standards for drunk driving.
TEA-21 continues the 10 percent set aside from the Surface
Transportation Program for Rail Highway Grade Crossings and Hazard Elimination
and expands the Hazard Elimination Program to include Interstates, any public
bicycle or pedestrian pathway or trail and traffic calming projects.
The bill continues the National Motor Carrier Safety Program
which encourages states to invest in areas of greatest crash reduction based
on their circumstances. It also continues funds for the Motor Carrier Safety
Assistance Program for enforcement of commercial motor vehicle safety and
hazardous materials regulations. It improves motor carrier safety by
expanding the toolbox of enforcement techniques,
closing loopholes that permit usafe practices, and allowing development of
innovative approaches to regulations.
In addition, TEA-21 establishes incentives for states to improve one-
call notification systems to reduce the likelihood of excavation damage to
TEA-21 provides $217.3 billion in surface transportation
investment over the next six years. It guarantees a total of $198
billion in highway and transit funding, and protects commitments to a balanced
budget and to the President's other vital priorities, such as education, child
care, and Social Security. TEA-21 continues core highway, bridge and transit
programs, with balanced investment for highways, transit, rail, and intermodal
projects. It provides $28.6 billion for the National Highway System, $23.8
billion for Interstate Maintenance, $33.3 billion for the Surface
Transportation Program, $20.4 billion for Bridge Replacement and
Rehabilitation, $8.12 billion for the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality
Improvement Program, and $42 billion for transit.
It provides $ 1.3 billion to develop and deploy Intelligent
Transportation Systems (ITS) to improve safety, mobility, and commercial
vehicle operations and expands the eligibility of all major program categories
to include ITS, so technology will be considered as a strategy for meeting
travel demand. It also provides more than $1 billion for magnetic levitation.
Protecting the Environment
President Clinton has taken advantage of ISTEA's landmark
environmental provisions to reduce air and water pollution, to preserve
wetlands and open space, and to make transportation facilities more compatible
with the environment. TEA-21 continues the President's commitment to protect
and enhance communities and the natural environment affected by
TEA-21 continues the successful Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality
Improvement Program, with funding increased by about 35 percent over ISTEA
levels to a record $8.12 billion to help communities, including those newly
designated as nonattainment areas, meet national standards for healthy air.
It establishes a pilot program on sustainable communities to help state and
local governments plan environmentally friendly development.
The bill also provides more than $3 billion or 10 percent of the
Surface Transportation Program for projects designed to strengthen the
cultural, aesthetic, and environmental aspects of our community transportation
systems across the nation. A new Clean Fuels program to encourage the use of
more environmentally friendly alternative fuel buses in areas with severe air
quality problems is funded at $750 million. It increases funding to $148
million for National Scenic Byways, designated
roads of aesthetic or historic value and expands provisions for bicycle and
TEA-21 creates a new program with $750 million funding for Access to
Jobs and Reverse Commute to help those making the transition from welfare
rolls to payrolls get to work, and allows states to reserve highway training
positions specifically for welfare recipients.
The bill assures continued participation in surface
transportation programs by small, disadvantaged businesses through the
Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program and continues important labor
protections, such as the Davis-Bacon Act and 13 (c)for transportation workers.
TEA-21 increases the tax-exempt transit benefit that employers may
offer their employees from $65 per month to $100 per month, making it more
comparable with the current employer-provided parking benefits.
Ensuring Global Competitiveness
In an increasingly global economy, keeping transportation
efficient is crucial to continued competitiveness and to taking advantage of
the markets opened by NAFTA and GATT. TEA-21 provides balanced, accessible,
integrated and efficient transportation to advance America's economic growth
and competitiveness, by providing National Highway System
connectivity with major intermodal transportation facilities and
continuing a separate Interstate System maintenance program. It
establishes a border crossing program to improve the safe movement of people
and goods across the Canadian and Mexican borders and establishes a program to
plan, design and construct corridors of national significance for
international or interregional trade.
In addition, TEA-21 allows innovative credit techniques for major
project construction and authorizes a new State Infrastructure Bank pilot
program. The bill also assures that freight shippers are included as key
stakeholders in the metropolitan and statewide transportation planning
processes, giving them an opportunity to ensure that their interests will be
properly considered in planning new and improved transportation.