WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Thursday unanimously approved a bipartisan, multi-year highway bill to reauthorize and reform federal highway, transit and highway safety programs.
Committee leaders said that H.R. 3763, dubbed the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform (STRR) Act of 2015, is fiscally responsible and will help improve transportation infrastructure, maintain a commitment to safety and promote innovation.
“The committee’s overwhelming approval of the STRR Act today is a positive step forward for our nation’s transportation system and our economy,” said Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Penn.), chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The National School Transportation Association (NSTA) also hailed the committee’s approval of the STRR Act. NSTA President Todd Monteferrario said that the bill includes “several significant provisions to resolve issues currently threatening the private school bus industry."
Those provisions include more review before federal minimum insurance requirements could be increased and significant reform of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program.
On the insurance issue, the STRR Act requires the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to conduct a comprehensive study of passenger carrier industries' accident and claims histories before raising minimum insurance rates. The FMCSA has a pending rulemaking that, according to NSTA, could increase school bus contractors' insurance rates by more than 400% without any study or analysis of the issue.
NSTA Executive Director Ronna Sable Weber said that the bill “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."
Up next, the STRR Act heads to the House floor for consideration.
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