Washington DC – The Senate, by a strong bipartisan vote of 74-22, passed the Transportation Re-authorization Bill (S. 1813) today. An amendment to the bill re-authorizes the expired Secure Rural Schools Act that provided Tuolumne county with approximately $2 million to divide between schools and transportation.
According to the Associated Press the Senate bill authorizes $346 million in funding to 700 counties most of which goes to California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. The funding represents a 5 percent reduction in the 2011 payments under the Secure Rural Schools Act and the Payment In Lieu of Taxes program.
The amendment is supported by Tuolumne County Superintendent of Public Schools Joe Silva. Silva says, “We would rather have something firm for one year that we know would be very helpful for the schools and for the roads in Tuolumne county and then we will renew our efforts for early year.” Silva represents the rural counties in California as part of a national group called Partnership for a Rural America.
S.1813 is called “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century,” known as MAP-21. It authorizes transportation funding through Sept. 30, 2013. The bill was Sponsored by Senator Barbara Boxer and introduced November 2011, the full text of the bill is here. Transportation for America tracked 33 amendments; 13 passed, 15 failed and 5 were withdrawn.
This bill replaces current law that will expire on March 31st, the House is expected to pass a similar bill by that deadline.