State foresters reiterate support for comprehensive surface transportation bill

On Wednesday, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure released a $500-billion, five-year surface transportation bill, called the Invest in America Act. If passed, this legislation would substantially increase (by 40%) mandatory funding for USDA Forest Service road maintenance from the current level of $19 million annually to $50 million annually.

The legislation would also establish the Rebuild Rural Grants program, which would provide $250 million in grants annually to “improve transportation safety, including on high-risk rural roads, on federal lands, and at vehicle-wildlife crossings; improve state of good repair, including on off-system bridges; and improve access to jobs and services in support of rural economies, including to a forestry facility.”

A section-by-section review of the Invest in America Act is available here. Here is the bill summary and full legislative text.

In February of this year, NASF signed onto a coalition letter of support for increasing Forest Service road maintenance funding within a surface transportation bill. The association is glad to see the House Committee recognizes this need and has proposed a way to meet it through a federal highway bill.

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