South Dakota’s Senator Mike Rounds part of RESTORE resolution

Senator Rounds was cited as part of the RESTORE resolution in a colleague’s recent press release that I thought I’d tag for your information. The resolution requires that the House & Senate would annually review all federal rules with an impact of $50 million of more to the economy.


Rep. Bishop Introduces RESTORE Resolution

WASHINGTON – Congressman Mike Bishop (MI-08) has introduced the bipartisan Regulation Sensibility Through Oversight Restoration (RESTORE) Resolution, H. Con. Res. 67, with Congressman Collin Peterson (MN-07) to create greater congressional oversight of federal rules and the process for which agencies create them. Working with Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota, the resolution would bring together a Joint Committee to study federal regulations, make recommendations to reduce their burden on hardworking Americans, and analyze the feasibility and options for creating a review process in Congress.

“Unelected bureaucrats create thousands of onerous rules every year without any checks over their impact on families and businesses,” said Rep. Bishop. “RESTORE takes congressional oversight a step further by giving the people’s representatives a place in the review process – so we can cut through the red tape that is holding our nation back. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate on restoring the good government our Founding Fathers intended.”

“Overly burdensome regulations are wreaking havoc on our rural communities, farmers and ranchers, and small business owners. Establishing a new review process that allows for more input from those who will actually be impacted by new rules and regulations will help ensure that laws are implemented the way Congress intended,” said Rep. Peterson.

MikeRounds official Senate“Since its introduction in May, my RESTORE Resolution has gained momentum,” said Sen. Rounds. “In addition to receiving bipartisan, bicameral support in Congress, RESTORE has the support of dozens of local and national organizations. It is a common sense approach to addressing the federal government’s overreach and it will restore the people’s role in eliminating unnecessary and burdensome regulations. RESTORE offers a permanent solution to overregulation in America and reestablishes Congress’ role in the rule making process. I thank Reps. Bishop and Peterson for taking the lead on this important piece of legislation in the House and look forward to working with them.”


The RESTORE Resolution would create a Joint Select Committee consisting of members of both the Senate and House of Representatives. The committee would:

  • Analyze the feasibility of a permanent joint rules review committee to
    • Review all rules causing an annual impact on the economy of $50 million or more before the rule is enacted; and
    • Delay the imposition of rules for review to the Permanent Joint Rules Review Committee.
  • Analyze the feasibility of requiring each federal agency to submit each proposed rule over $50 million to the appropriate committees of Congress for review before the rule is enacted.
  • Conduct a systematic review of rules enacted by federal agencies;
  • Hold hearings on the effects of current rules and look for ways to reduce the regulatory overreach;
  • Submit to Congress recommendations for a process to sunset overly burdensome and unnecessary rules, as well as a process for federal agencies to submit rules to Congress for review before they are enacted;
  • Submit to Congress recommendations for ways to reduce the financial burden these regulations place on American families;
  • Recommend whether Congress should overturn rules by enacting a joint resolution of disapproval; and
  • Submit a list of rules that should be repealed.

Additional statistics:



US Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: Dodd-Frank: Five Years Later

RoundsPressHeader MikeRounds official SenateDodd-Frank: Five Years Later
By Senator Mike Rounds
July 24, 2015

We recently marked the five-year anniversary of the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act. At the time, supporters of Dodd-Frank said it would improve our economy and protect taxpayers from “too big to fail” financial institutions. Instead, our economy remains stuck in a rut and the law has plagued our country with burdensome new federal mandates. The 456 final rules enacted since the passage of Dodd-Frank have so far unleashed a bureaucratic nightmare, the cost of which is being handed down directly to the American people.

According to the American Action Forum, these rules have cost Americans $24 billion in compliance costs and burdened job creators with 61 million new hours of paperwork. It would take close to 30,000 Americans working 40-hour weeks for an entire year to finish that much paperwork, and the salaries of more than half a million Americans to pay for those compliance costs.

South Dakota’s banking industry has been hit hard by this, spending too much time and money on regulatory compliance. Smaller banks may not be able to survive and may simply have to sell to bigger banks. At a Senate Banking Hearing, we heard from one bank that because of Dodd-Frank, now employs more compliance employees than actual loan officers. This is not only costly to the banks themselves, but also to the customers who do business with a bank. Compliance costs have to be made up somewhere, so banks have been reducing the interest rates on deposits and have increased fees for previously free services like checking accounts and online banking. Literally everyone who has a bank account is feeling the negative effects.

I have introduced amendments and legislation to take apart provisions of Dodd-Frank. One of my amendments, included in this year’s budget resolution, would provide help for people in rural areas seeking a mortgage to purchase a home. Additional legislation would repeal the so-called “pay ratio” rule in Dodd-Frank.  This redundant provision requires companies to recreate already available public information on employee salaries. These are examples of why the entire law needs to be re-examined and changed so that we can truly recover from the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 and not continue to bog down our job creators with overly burdensome federal mandates.

As a member of the Senate Banking Committee, I have been working with others to change our banking regulations. Earlier this year, we passed S. 1484, The Financial Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015, that would provide much-needed regulatory relief to the financial services industry and the consumers they serve. I also recently introduced S. 1816 with Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) to help strengthen community banks, particularly those in rural areas.

Dodd-Frank has many flaws which are limiting American growth and productivity. In the five years since Dodd-Frank was enacted, it has placed undue burden on our economy, failed to protect taxpayers from future bailouts of the financial industry and unfairly punished South Dakota consumers who bear the brunt of the increased compliance costs. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to promote legislation that helps reduce red tape and overregulation. These regulations are hurting our economy and adding costs for consumers.


Rounds Alarmed by Obama’s DoD Nominee’s Response to Nuclear Deal with Iran


Rounds Alarmed by Obama’s DoD Nominee’s Response to Nuclear Deal with Iran

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today at a hearing questioned General Paul Selva, Pres. Obama’s nominee to be Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, regarding the Iran nuclear agreement announced early this morning. Just hours after the agreement was announced, Selva confirmed that Iran is still the leading sponsor of terror and that sanctions relief could be used by the Iranians to sponsor terrorism if they choose to do so.

Transcript of the Exchange:

Rounds: “You identified as one of those four existential threats, the country of Iran. In your view, is Iran still the leading state sponsor of terror?”

Selva: “Yes, sir, they are.”

Rounds: “With the proposed nuclear [agreement], which was announced this morning, if Iran is provided economic sanctions relief, do you believe Tehran would use some of these funds to enhance its nuclear capabilities and support for terrorist organizations?”

Selva: “Senator I haven’t yet had the opportunity to study the entire agreement, but on its face from what I’ve heard from the press, the immediate lifting of sanctions, or the sequential lifting of sanctions will give Iran the access to more economic assets with which to sponsor terrorism should they choose to do so. I think we need to be alert to that possibility…”

In response, Rounds issued the following statement:

“Now that an agreement has been reached, Congress will carefully consider the deal based on its merits,” said Rounds. “I’ve said all along that anything short of stopping the Iranians from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon is unacceptable. Based on what we know so far, it appears this deal not only fails to meet this essential goal, it emboldens the Iranians, who will receive $150 billion in sanctions relief, a phased out lifting of a UN arms embargo and be allowed to test more advanced centrifuges over 10 years. Today’s testimony from General Selva confirms that under this deal, Iran will have the ability to continue funding terrorism, thereby increasing terrorist activity throughout the world.”

Top Preliminary Areas of Concern regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA):

As the world’s leading country of state-sponsored terrorism, if Iran receives the sanctions relief outlined in this agreement, Iran will be empowered to increase funding for terrorist organizations.

According to President Obama, under this agreement, all UN arms embargo provisions against Iran will be lifted permanently in five years, including the export of nuclear-and-missile-related goods as well as a ban against Iran participating in ballistic missile development in eight years. This will occur after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifies Iran’s nuclear compliance with the agreement.

A robust inspection regime requires an anytime, anywhere policy. This deal falls short of that requirement. Instead, if the IAEA requests access to an undeclared location under the JCPOA agreement, Iran can delay access to the facility for two weeks or longer with the outlined multi-step process for undeclared locations. This timeframe may provide ample opportunity to conceal covert activity.

Under the preamble of the JCPOA agreement, the United States and other countries in the agreement recognize and legitimize Iran’s right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. This is extremely concerning given their untrustworthy track record and history of covert nuclear activity.

The JCPOA allows Iran to research and develop more advanced centrifuges, as well as retain the possession of all nuclear-related equipment. In short, the JCPOA may simply delay the inevitable: it places Iran as a threshold nuclear state.


US Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: We Must Act Decisively to Defeat ISIL

RoundsPressHeaderWe Must Act Decisively to Defeat ISIL
By Senator Mike Rounds
July 10, 2015

MikeRounds official SenateProtecting our nation through a strong defense is a fundamental role of the federal government. We have the greatest military in the world, and it’s an honor to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee to give them the support they need to continue to protect our nation. The House and Senate recently passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, which supports our troops and provides them with the tools necessary to successfully complete their missions. Yet, while Congress has done its part, I am concerned about the administration’s strategy to combat and defeat ISIL in the Middle East and the threat ISIL poses to the U.S.

ISIL emerged two years ago out of the Al Qaeda terrorist organization. Since its formation, it has made alarming advances in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa as other violent terrorist groups pledge loyalty to ISIL. This group is the most dangerous, extremist Islamic terrorist group history has ever seen and now poses a direct threat to the United States. ISIL is a jihadist organization following an extreme interpretation of Islam which conducts unspeakable acts of violence against Muslims and non-Muslims, to include women and children. The United Nations holds ISIL responsible for human rights abuses and war crimes, and they have also been accused of ethnic cleansing on a “historic scale.” Their ultimate goal is to unite the entire Arab world under a violent extremist Islamist caliphate, and they are the first terrorist organization to hold large swaths of land from which they can obtain financial and other resources as well as organize and train their fighters. They have destabilized the entire Middle East and pose a threat to the United States and other nations outside the region partly because of the many individuals from the U.S. and Europe who have joined ISIL’s ranks and can one day return home to commit terrorist acts.

Many experts view ISIL, in conjunction with other expanding threats, as posing the most complex and uncertain international environment for the U.S. since the end of World War II. They pose a direct threat to our nation and American interests all over the world. ISIL must be defeated – and can be – but the administration’s halfhearted strategy to defeat them is failing to produce results, even emboldening them.

I recently had the opportunity to question Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey about the administration’s lack of a strategy to defeat ISIL during a Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing. During that hearing, Sec. Carter acknowledged that the Pentagon’s effort to defeat ISIL has been severely slowed due to a lack of Syrian and Iraqi recruits to undergo U.S. training and eventually join the fight.  Shockingly, so far we’ve only trained 60 Syrians to fight ISIL instead of the thousands the administration promised.  I believe the reason we are having trouble finding recruits is because potential fighters lack confidence in our commitment to support them over the long term and fear what will happen to them and their families if we abandon them. Unfortunately, President Obama’s strategy, with its multiple constraints on what our troops in Iraq can do, does little to convey such a commitment. In particular, the administration refuses to provide Iraqi security forces with U.S. advisors who would serve with them on the front lines and forward air controllers to direct airstrikes to help them. Providing this kind of support would reassure Iraqis of our commitment and help provide backbone to forces who, with our help, have the potential for success.

Just as General Petraeus rallied the Sunni tribes in 2006 and 2007, we must do so again in order to stop the Sunnis from joining ISIL. The Sunnis feel as if they are second class citizens in Iraq due to Shiite control of the country, and their way of fighting against this control is to join ISIL. By working with the Sunni tribes and their elders, we can begin to recruit fighters in our cause as well as reduce the number of fighters providing support to ISIL. We must also work to create greater ethnic and religious tolerance in Iraq among the Kurds, Shia and Sunnis.

No one wants to see American boots on the ground in the Middle East, but this administration’s failing ISIL strategy threatens the region, country and the entire world. We must change our current course and act quickly and decisively to defeat ISIL. Failing to do so would be a profound failure to keep Americans safe.


Rounds Applauds Passage of his Native American Education Amendment


Rounds Applauds Passage of his Native American Education Amendment

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today applauded the passage of an amendment he offered with U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) to improve education of Native American students. The amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act, which is currently being debated on the Senate floor, addresses low graduation rates at tribal schools and seeks to improve the quality of education in Indian Country, especially in rural and high poverty areas.

“The fact that there are tribal schools in this country with graduation rates below 40 percent is unacceptable,” said Rounds. “A strong education system in Indian Country is crucial for Native American students. Our amendment lays a foundation to fix the systemic education problems facing students in Indian Country, not only in South Dakota but throughout the nation.  I am pleased that it received broad bipartisan support in the Senate.”

Rounds’ amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act directs the Department of the Interior and the Department of Education to conduct a study in rural and poverty areas of Indian Country to:

  • Identify federal barriers that restrict tribes from implementing common-sense regional policies instead of one-size fits all policies directed from Washington;
  • Identify recruitment and retention options for teachers and school administrators;
  • Identify the limitations in funding sources and flexibility for such schools; and
  • Provide strategies on how to increase high school graduation rates.


US Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: Supporting Science in South Dakota

RoundsPressHeader Supporting Science in South Dakota
By Senator Mike Rounds
July 2, 2015

MikeRounds official SenateWhile working as governor of South Dakota, securing the underground laboratory at the Homestake mine in Lead was one of our proudest accomplishments. Without the strong support of people across the entire state none of this would have happened. At that time, it was called the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory, or DUSEL, and managed by the National Science Foundation. During a competitive process and with a generous gift from philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, the facility was awarded to South Dakota. The Department of Energy is now the primary sponsor of the re-named Sanford Underground Research Facility.

Though the name has changed over time, the quality of the work at the lab remains first-rate. Researchers and scientists continue to explore modern physics by developing groundbreaking experiments that can only be done in this unique laboratory space deep underground that protects the experiments from cosmic radiation. In fact, physicist Ray Davis, Jr., earned a Nobel Prize for Physics in 2002 for his solar neutrino experiment at the mine.

I was honored to attend the recent grand opening of the Sanford Visitor and Learning Center on June 30, which is the result of years of hard work and planning. Many different people and groups have come together to make the Sanford Lab a world-class research facility, and I’m pleased that it will now be open to visitors from around the globe who are interested in the important work researchers are doing at the lab.

While working as governor, I worked with the South Dakota State Legislature to appropriate more than $39 million for underground science at the Sanford Lab. The new visitor center offers scientists of all ages from every state and around the world a first-hand look at the lab’s experiments. It also offers the town of Lead an opportunity to showcase its historic past as a mining town to tour groups and visitors from around the world.

We’ve also been preparing future leaders to work in science. Students are our state’s greatest asset, and just since 2003, 6,000 new scholarships have been awarded to make sure young people have the opportunity to receive a top-notch education and make their careers in South Dakota. Encouraging more students to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) has long been one of our priorities. The Sanford Science Education Center is a collaboration between Black Hills State University and the Sanford Lab to prepare students for future STEM-based careers. They offer internships, professional development courses, summer programs and more to inspire young people to pursue science-based jobs.

I look forward to seeing the Sanford Lab continue to expand and thrive. Future plans for the lab include a partnership with Fermilab in Illinois on the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), which could lead to new discoveries about neutrinos, proton decay and the elements necessary for life.  Scientists throughout the ages have questioned the origins of the universe, and with today’s technology, we may be able to discover more about what makes up the universe. This is South Dakota’s opportunity to be involved in exciting new discoveries which, not too long ago, seemed only to be part of science fiction. You will hear more about matter, dark matter, energy, dark energy, and of course, more about neutrinos! It is all happening in the Black Hills of South Dakota.


Thune, Rounds & Noem note – USDA to Pautre Fire Victims: We’re Not Responsible

USDA to Pautre Fire Victims: We’re Not Responsible

USDA Fails to Acknowledge Negligence and Pay for Damages Resulting From Pautre Fire

John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressWASHINGTON, D.C.– U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) today expressed their frustration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service (FS), and Office of General Counsel’s (OGC) refusal to determine that FS employees were negligent when they started a prescribed burn in April 2013, which due to extremely dry and windy conditions, burned out of control. The devastating Pautre fire consumed 16,000 acres of standing grass on public and private pasture land and damaged or destroyed fences, bales of forage, buildings, and trees.

As a result of USDA’s refusal to determine negligence, all Pautre fire claims will be denied by FS. However, claimants may file suit against the federal government in U.S. district court within six months of the date they received their determination letters.

“I’m disappointed that the USDA has refused to acknowledge negligence and accept responsibility for the out-of-control Pautre fire that had such a devastating impact on property in northern South Dakota,” said Thune. “USDA’s denial leaves many South Dakota farmers and ranchers – who have already waited more than two years for a USDA decision – with the inability to have their claims resolved any time soon. We must prevent situations like these from occurring in the future, which is why I’ve introduced the Prescribed Burn Approval Act of 2015 that would require a federal agency to timely pay for losses that result from an out-of-control fire that it starts.”

“The impact of the Pautre fire will be felt by South Dakotans for many years to come,” said Rounds. “I MikeRounds official Senateam surprised that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, and Office of General Counsel have denied responsibility and relief to the South Dakota farmers and ranchers affected by the fire. It is my hope that South Dakotans will still be able to recover their losses through other legal avenues available to them.”

“I have been disappointed by the federal government’s snail-paced decision-making process over the last 26 months, but the USDA’s refusal to take responsibility for the Pautre Fire damages is unbelievable,” said Noem. “Whether the USDA admits it or not, South Dakota farmers and ranchers lost thousands of dollars’ worth of fences, buildings, bales, tree rows, and more as a result of the federal government’s actions. We must make sure disasters like this kristi noem headshot May 21 2014are prevented in the future, but that is going to require the federal government to admit to and reconcile previous mistakes.”

Earlier this month, the delegation wrote to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urging the USDA, FS, and OGC to determine negligence and accept responsibility for the fire so victims’ claims could be processed.

The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) provides claimants two years from the date of an incident to submit claims against the government. The FTCA generally holds the federal government liable when federal employees commit acts of negligence in the course of their employment.

Thune’s legislation, which was introduced earlier this year, is designed to help prevent reckless prescribed burns, similar to the Pautre and Cold Brook fires. The legislation would require appropriate collaboration between federal and local officials before initiating a prescribed burn on federal lands when fire danger is high.



US Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: King v. Burwell Ruling Doesn’t Change the Fact that the ACA is Fatally Flawed

RoundsPressHeaderKing v. Burwell Ruling Doesn’t Change the Fact that the ACA is Fatally Flawed
By Senator Mike Rounds
June 26, 2015

MikeRounds official SenateOn June 25, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) federal subsidies are legal. Ruling in the case of King v. Burwell in a 6-3 vote, the Court sided with the administration finding the subsidies 6.4 million people currently receive do not depend on where they live, under the president’s health care law.  With this ruling, the administration has dodged another bullet. The Supreme Court once again interpreted the law in a way that favors the administration. We continue to be stuck with the ACA’s ever rising health insurance costs and the damage it is doing to our economy. This is the second major case in which the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the ACA, underscoring the need to elect a Republican president in 2016 in order to repeal and replace this fatally flawed law.

From increased insurance costs to website malfunctions and canceled coverage for millions, the ACA has hurt our economy and millions of American families. At least 4.7 million Americans lost the health care plans they enjoyed, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that the law will reduce employment by 2.5 million in the next decade. This is in part because the ACA is not designed to incentivize growth. Employers are reluctant to expand and hire more employees because they could be subject to more costly mandates under the law. Lower income individuals are likely to stay in their income brackets to keep their health benefits instead of going for a promotion at work. These are only a couple examples of how the ACA discourages economic growth.

In South Dakota, there have been 18 ACA-compliant plans requesting double-digit premium rate increases in 2016. One insurance company in South Dakota is proposing premium increases of 43 percent.  Part of the reason for the rate increases are the new “one-size-fits-all” requirements forcing plans to cover unneeded benefits. One mother of three, who lives in Northeast South Dakota recently wrote to me after being notified that her out-of-pocket health insurance cost for herself and her children was increasing from $450 a month to more than $1,700. She spent hours exhausting all her options for obtaining new insurance, sifting through; yet she got nowhere under Obamacare. Her children are now faced with completely losing their health insurance at the end of the month. This is just one more example of the law failing American families.

Americans deserve a health care solution that is patient-centered, effective and accountable with a strong, vibrant marketplace to provide this freedom and choice. The ACA fails to achieve any of these goals. It also removes choice and innovation from the market, which is the most powerful tool to lower costs and better address everyone’s unique healthcare needs.

Republicans in Congress will not be deterred by the Court’s decision. South Dakotans deserve better. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to repeal and replace this flawed, government-run health care plan. Our goal is to secure, affordable services in a competitive market for all Americans.


Rounds Statement on King v. Burwell Decision


Rounds Statement on King v. Burwell Decision

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today issued the following statement after the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) federal subsidies as constitutional:

“Today’s decision doesn’t change the fact that the Affordable Care Act is fatally flawed. From increased insurance costs to website glitches and canceled coverage for millions, this law has hurt our economy and millions of American families. The ACA was a hastily-written law crafted behind closed doors, with little regard for its negative effects on families or on our economy. The result was an unworkable law that is unsustainable, unaffordable and saddled with glitches.”

“South Dakotans want – and deserve – truly patient-centered health care that delivers secure, affordable care and a competitive, open market that encourages innovation. The Affordable Care Act fails on all these fronts. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to repeal and replace this flawed, government-run health care plan. Our goal is to secure affordable services in a competitive market.”


Rounds Applauds Committee Passage of Six Year Highway Bill


Rounds Applauds Committee Passage of Six Year Highway Bill
Protects South Dakota Transportation Priorities

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today applauded the committee’s passage of a six-year surface transportation reauthorization bill,  the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act.

“A healthy economy is dependent on a strong, safe and vibrant transportation system that allows us to move people, goods and commerce with ease. Roughly $20 billion in goods are transported on South Dakota roads each year. The DRIVE Act recognizes the important role roads in rural states play in our national economy. It will also provide states increased flexibility in making decisions and managing their transportation networks. I applaud my colleagues for working together on a comprehensive, bipartisan highway bill that will provide long-term certainty for state and local governments. This will allow them to plan their transportation projects more efficiently.”

Background: Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act

Fully-funds highway programs for 6 years:

  • The bill reauthorizes the Federal-aid highway program at an increased funding level for six years, from FY 2016 through FY 2021.
  • Maintains formula program structure and increases the amounts each state will receive each fiscal year.

Increases support for core formula programs:

  • The existing consolidated core highway program structure from MAP-21 is maintained, including: the National Highway Performance Program; the Highway Safety Improvement Program; the Surface Transportation Program; and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program.

Prioritizes bridges and large, nationally-important facilities:

  • The bill dramatically increases the funding that must be spent on projects to maintain and repair bridges off of the National Highway System, as these bridges often struggle to find a reliable funding stream.
  • The bill also shifts additional revenue towards the Interstate System and the National Highway System to address the significant maintenance backlog on those facilities.

Requires Highway Trust Fund transparency:

  • The legislation includes new provisions to improve the transparency of how and where transportation projects are selected and funded, to make certain that stakeholders and the public have faith in the integrity of highway programs and the use of federal tax dollars.
  • The improved transparency provisions will provide to the public better accountability on how the Federal Highway Administration is utilizing their administrative appropriations as well as progress towards achieving national goals and improving federal reviews of highway projects.

Accelerates project delivery and increases flexibility:

  • Building on the reforms in MAP-21, the bill continues to accelerate the project delivery process while protecting the environment and public health.
  • New reforms would improve collaboration between the lead agency and the participating agencies, allow for greater reliance on documents prepared during the planning process, and reduce duplication between agencies involved in the federal environmental review and permitting process.

Expands flexibility and opportunities for infrastructure investment in rural areas:

  • The bill provides increased flexibility to best fit the needs of rural states and local governments.
  • It offers new options to bundle small projects together to increase efficiencies and take advantage of procedures often difficult to utilize for rural projects.
  • It empowers states to work with DOT to develop ways to effectively utilize flexibilities for small projects, including rural road and bridge projects to better respond to community needs.

Funds Federal Lands and Tribal Transportation Highway Programs:

  • The bill increases funding levels for these programs to support maintenance and construction of roads and bridges on tribal and federal lands.
  • The bill also authorizes funds for nationally significant federal lands and tribal transportation projects, recognizing that there is a significant maintenance and repair backlog on these facilities.

Maintains State and Metropolitan Transportation Planning:

  • The bill maintains the statewide and metropolitan planning processes to continue the development towards a performance-based approach to transportation decision making