The Intermodal Surface Transportation
and Efficiency Act (ISTEA) which sets transportation
policy and authorizes highway and transit funding,
expired on September 30, 1997. Changing the formulas
for allocation funds among the states, increasing
transportation infrastructure investments in a
balanced budget environment, and promoting alternative
transportation that meet clean air standards are
but a few issues that will be considered.
ISTEA's reauthorization is a
major priority for Congresswoman McKinney. On
March 13, 1997, Congresswoman McKinney, accompanied
by MARTA Vice President Jack Stephens, testified
for the second year in front of the House Committee
on Transportation and Infrastructure. Addressing
the proposed widening of I-285, the Congresswoman
brought the concerns of neighborhood associations
to the Committee's members, and she asked the
Committee to consider authorizing a transit study
of the I-285 corridor to provide an alternative
to GDOT's alarming proposal.
Along with encouraging mass transit
as an alternative, Congresswoman McKinney brought
the Committee's attention to the need of safety
and beautification of Candler Road, Memorial Drive,
and Buford Highway. Enhancements of these arterial
ways is one of the 13 transportation priorities
that Congresswoman McKinney submitted to the Committee
for authorization in this year's ISTEA.
The House passed the bill by
a vote of 337 to 80, after agreeing to two amendments.
As passed by the House, the bill porvides $219.0
BILLION over six years, a 41% increase over spending
provided by the last highway bill, the 1991 Intermodal
Surface Trasportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA).
The bill's total includes $180 BILLION for highways
(including more tha $9 BILLION earmarked for projects
in specific localities), $37.3 BILLION for mass
transit programs, and $2.1 BILLION for highway
safety activities. It takes the Highway Trust
Fund "off-budget" in FY 1999, thereby exempting
spending from the fund from spending caps and
deficit calculations under the Budget Act.