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The New Federal Highway Bill: MAP-21

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What is MAP-21?

The long anticipated MAP-21, otherwise known as the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” bill, was signed into law by President Barack Obama as of July 6th, 2012. This came about after the United States had endured an extensive period of up to two years without a current set of regulations in effect for its national roadways. The MAP-21 is a development that has taken quite a lot of building up to reach its current standpoint, and since its recent approval, the American public has come forward with a series of concerns regarding the law’s implications for the future. One of the most frequently asked questions people have about the MAP-21 is in regards to the nature of the funding for this program. In addition to the actual budget itself, people really want to know how and where that money is going to be distributed to.

Allocation of Funds

TIFIA, a federally based loan service, is now undergoing a serious expansion of up to ten times its prior size in order to accommodate the growing needs and budget for America’s highway systems. One of the main focuses for TIFIA will be the direct funding of transportation for freight exchanges along the NAFTA corridors. The construction of this superhighway has been an incredibly heated issue for many years. Many are opposed to the idea while many are for it. Today, it is a proposal that is finally coming closer to being realized. Altogether, the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act will be receiving an increase in annual revenue dollars of up to $1 billion in order to fund the program’s overall expansion.

Section 1316

Most recently, Section 1316 has proven to be quite the controversy. This newly passed regulation grants state governments the power to implement additional managed toll lanes, so long as they fall within the parameters of a road’s right of way. However, there are no requirements for environmental auditing of a toll lane project prior to its final execution, which also means that the general public will ultimately have no say in the privatization of public roads or how they are managed. Consequently, public hearings will also be made impossible. Since the states have been provided with greater flexibility on management in addition to their expanded funds, speculations around the abuse of this power are being fervently voiced by the American people.