Transportation Bill Gives a Boost to Growth
The six-year, $286 billion highway transportation bill signed into law earlier this month by President Bush will help to create jobs and boost the economy, and contains key provisions that will benefit the nation’s home builders.
“Transportation and land use must complement each other,” said NAHB President David Wilson. “We are pleased that this legislation preserves the prerogatives and flexibility of local governments to plan for the transportation and growth needs of their local communities while encouraging private sector involvement in the planning process.”
The new law — the “Safe, Accountable, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users," or "SAFETEA-LU" — will fund vital new highway projects over the next six years and is designed to upgrade the nation’s transportation infrastructure.
NAHB was successful in working with lawmakers to enact statutory changes within the bill (H.R. 3) to address the regulatory burdens of the transportation conformity process.
Transportation conformity is a stipulation under the Clean Air Act and TEA-LU that requires states with poor air quality to conduct air quality assessments before they can receive federal funds to construct major transportation projects.
The newly enacted conformity provisions will allow greater flexibility for air quality planners, which translates into fewer delays for transportation construction activities. Fewer delays in transportation construction creates greater planning predictability for home builders and reduced congestion for home buyers.
Also, NAHB offered a legislative solution to strengthen the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, which provides a flexible funding source for state and local transportation projects and programs that improve air quality and help alleviate congestion in areas of the country with the most severe air quality problems.
In addition, NAHB worked to eliminate an onerous provision in the legislation sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) that would have created a pilot program linking federal transportation funding to local land use planning decisions.
To read the legislation, click here and enter H.R. 3 in the box at the upper left.
For more information, contact Kevin Schwalb at 800-368-5242 x8486.