WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Environment & Public Works Committee hailed committee passage today of the Safe Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2005 (SAFETEA). The bill provides $191 billion for maintenance and improvement of the nation’s roads, bridges over the 2005-2009 period. When the mass transit and safety titles (yet to be considered by the relative committees) are added, as well as the fiscal year 2004 funding (funded through several extensions last year), the bill totals $284 billion. The committee also passed S. 606, the Renewable Fuels Act, a comprehensive program to increase the use of renewable fuels in the United States. SAFETEA passed by a vote of 17 to 1; S. 606 passed by voice vote.
“The committee took a crucial step forward today to improve our nation’s transportation infrastructure while creating millions of new job opportunities to help our economy grow,” Senator Inhofe said. “In Oklahoma, where we rank dead last in the maintenance of our bridges, we know how important this bill is to our state and will use wisely the about $2.7 billion over five years that this bill provides for our needs. I look forward to working with Senate leadership to get this bill to the floor for a full vote of the Senate as soon as possible and then on to conference. In addition, I am pleased that the committee voted out S. 606, the Reliable Fuels Act, which is nearly identical to the bill that passed the Environment Committee last Congress. As was the case in the 108th, we intend to incorporate this bill into comprehensive energy legislation at the appropriate time.