U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee Takes up Challenges in Global Food Supply Chain

On November 14, the U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture addressed the issue of invasive species and their impacts on the U.S. food supply chain. In his opening statement to begin the hearing Chairman of the Subcommittee, Jim Costa (D-CA) pointed out, “Along our southern border and in seaports across the country…

U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC)

Tim Cansler w Canada's Ambassador David MacNaughton

Tim Cansler w Canada’s Ambassador to the U.S. David MacNaughton

U.S. and Canadian Regulatory Senior Officials met to discuss opportunities to smooth and speed imports and exports between the two countries and enhance economic competitiveness while at the same time heightening safety standards.  The RCC is made up of government officials and industry stakeholders focused on trying “to promote economic growth, job creation, and benefits to consumers and businesses through increased regulatory transparency and coordination” between the two North American giants. Both countries maintain a very effective regulatory system that achieves similar levels of protection.  In addition, regulatory officials on both sides of the border have generally compatible regulatory values and practices.

This is How You Do It

Our Dollar Sign Road iStock_000000985949XSmallhats are off to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), US Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL), US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) and EPW Ranking Member Barbara Boxer (D-CA) for their leadership and bipartisan work on the much-needed long term (6-year) extension of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization (highway bill) that funds the Highway Trust Fund (HTF).  The HTF is a dedicated source of federal funding for highways.  It is the primary funding source for federal highways and transit programs for state, local, and national projects across the U.S. The Senate adopted HR 22, the long-term highway bill by a vote of 65-34.…

No Other Viable Transportation Options

put in a patch

Highway patch

Just hours before the U.S. Senate was set to adjourn for the long August congressional recess, on July 31, the U.S. Senate adopted H.R. 5021 to fund the nation’s highway system by a vote of 81-13.  H.R. 5021 is a short term, $11 billion “patch” for funding of the U.S. highway trust fund through May 2015.  The trust fund would have been insolvent at the beginning of August.

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly adopted H.R. 5021 with a vote of 367-55 on July 15. While the measure garnered bi-partisan support, House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told CQ News, “Democrats would have a preferred a longer-term deal that shored up the highway trust fund’s solvency for years to come… and many Democrats accepted the deal because there were no other viable options.”  State transportation officials and transportation industry leaders have called for Congress to pass long-term legislation to ensure more certainty for highway improvement projects across the country.

16 Days Away: Highway Trust Fund Insolvency

Dollar symbol on endless road16 Legislative Days Away From Highway Trust Fund Insolvency

Congress is 16 days away from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) becoming insolvent and lawmakers in Washington are scrambling for a solution. It is baffling that Congress finds itself in this situation especially since Congress has been reauthorizing the HTF since it was created in 1956 to provide a dedicated source of federal funding for highways and transit programs for states and local communities across the U.S.…

Keystone Pipeline

Keystone Pipeline

Keystone Pipeline from http://blogs.nicholas.duke.edu/

Recently, the Obama Administration announced it will extend a key review period of the Keystone XL Pipeline indefinitely. Most political pundits think this delay will push a decision until after the 2014 mid-term elections, which could signal the Administration’s intent to not approve the project. However, in its announcement, the State Department cited ongoing litigation in the Nebraska Supreme Court (which could re-route the pipeline) and additional time needed to review an unprecedented number of public comments received during the most recent comment period.…

Waterway Supply Chains Need U.S. Investment

Transporting $270 Billion of Our Exports

After five years since the last adoption of the (2007) Water Resources Development Act, congressional committees are beginning to focus on the U.S.’ water resources infrastructure.  The United States maintains 300 commercial ports, 12,000 miles of inland and intra-coastal waterways and about 240 lock chambers, which carry more than $270 billion in U.S. exports and just over half (by value) of U.S. imports.…

Administration to Re-Direct up to $473.4 Million in Unused Earmarks

Are Your State Transportation Funds Impacted?

On August 17th, the Obama Administration announced that it would use up to $473.4 million in unused appropriation earmarks provided by previous Congresses spanning from 2003 to 2006 to pay for new transportation projects. US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the Administration scoured the federal government to identify the unused funds while Congress was enduring rancorous debate on the on-again, off-again transportation re-authorization negotiations that ultimately ended up in a $105 billion, 2-year deal. The deal was reached just prior to the expiration of the ninth extension (2009) of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).…

Senate Committee Passes Surface Transportation Bill

Transportation lobbyistsRecently, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee adopted 18-0,  the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, or MAP-21, bill (S. 1813). The transportation bill now moves to the Senate floor where it faces much uncertainty as Committee members were unable to reach a consensus on a number of amendments, some of which are likely to be offered on the floor.  In addition, S. 1813 needs additional funding through offsets totaling $12 billion, the gap between current Highway Trust Fund tax revenues and the bills authorized spending level. …

U.S. Ports Critical to Global Competitiveness

With more than one-quarter of U.S. gross domestic product hanging in the balance, U.S. seaports need to be improved if they want to be more competitive in today’s global economy. Today, ports find themselves on the never-ending treadmill of maintaining efficient operations and installing costly infrastructure upgrades to maintain U.S. competitiveness. Fighting for survival in the middle of an economic recession will require an unique strategy that includes non-traditional public-private investments.

Transportation Reauthorization

Transportation ReauthorizationThe U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee led by Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-OK) wasted little time after Congress’ return from the August recess to adopt a short-term extension of the surface-transportation legislation, Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2005: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA; P.L. 109-59). SAFETEA-LU is set to expire at the end of the federal fiscal year on September 30, 2011. The adopted extension funds highway programs at current levels through January 31, 2012.

The republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives responded by adopting  a six- month funding extension (at current levels) for surface-transportation and a four month funding extension for the Federal Aviation Administration.

With funding deadlines fast approaching and to prevent funding lapses, the U.S. Senate will adopt the same extension provisions later this week. …