WASHINGTON, D.C. — Five-year legislation aimed at improving the nation’s transportation infrastructure and reforming federal surface transportation programs has gained final approval.

President Obama signed the bicameral, bipartisan Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act into law on Friday, a day after the House approved it in a 359-to-65 vote.

This is the first long-term transportation bill that Congress has passed in 10 years. During that time, lawmakers resorted to dozens of short-term extensions.

“The FAST Act is one of the most important measures this Congress will pass,” said Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Penn.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “This legislation will help repair and improve the critical transportation network that we all rely on every day to get to work, get our kids home safely from school, and get the goods and products we need.”

The National School Transportation Association (NSTA) applauded the passage of the FAST Act, which advanced many of the school bus contractor group’s priorities. As examples, the legislation includes provisions that:

• require the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to do a comprehensive study of passenger carrier industries' accident and claims histories before being permitted to radically increase minimum insurance rates;

• require FMCSA to revise the methodology of the Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) program;

• call for general regulatory reform of FMCSA to provide more accountability and input by industry stakeholders.

NSTA President Todd Monteferrario commended the House and Senate for working together on the FAST Act and for “including several significant provisions to resolve issues currently threatening the viability of the private school bus industry."

NSTA Executive Director Ronna Sable Weber added that the legislation “will ensure that the private school bus industry and the millions of children it transports to and from school safely every day, continue to thrive."

For more information on the FAST Act, go here.

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