Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act

Overview

  • Passed the House on April 18, 2012 (293–127). 
  • Passed the Senate on April 24, 2012 (unanimous consent, in lieu of S. 1813 passed March 14, 2012 74–22).
  • Reported by the joint conference committee on June 28, 2012; agreed to by the House on June 29, 2012 (373–52) and by the Senate on June 29, 2012 (74–19).
  • Signed into law by President Barack Obama on July 6, 2012.
  • Enacted by the 112th United States Congress.
  • Introduced in the House as H.R. 4348 by John Mica (R-FL) on April 16, 2012.

Key Provisions

The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) is a funding and authorization bill to govern United States federal surface transportation spending. It was passed by Congress on June 29, 2012, and President Barack Obama signed it on July 6.The vote was 373-52 in the House of Representatives and 74-19 in the United States Senate; only Republicans voted against the bill.  The $105 billion, two-year bill does not significantly alter total funding from the previous authorization, but it does include many significant reforms. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that enacting MAP-21 will reduce the federal budget deficit over the 2012-2022 period by $16.3 billion.

  • The number of funding programs is consolidated by two-thirds.
  • The environmental review process is reformed in an effort to speed up project development. More projects will be categorically excluded from review, and there will be a four-year review deadline enforced with financial penalties. (In 2011 the average review took 8.1 years.)
  • Funding for bicycle and pedestrian transportation is reduced and consolidated into a broader program called "Transportation Alternatives." Half of this funding will go to metropolitan planning organizations and the other half will go to states, which may choose to use the funds for other purposes. Bicycle and pedestrian advocates were highly critical of this change, anticipating a 60-70% drop in funding.
  • A national freight policy will be developed.

Revenue Sources

MAP-21 is funded without increasing transportation user fees. (The federal gas tax was last raised in 1993.)  Instead, funds were generated through the following measures:

  • Raise additional revenue by increasing the ability of business with excess assets in their pension funds to use them for retiree health and life insurance benefits, and by defining businesses that make roll-your-own machines available for consumer use as tobacco manufacturers
  • Change the interest rate that pension plans use to measure their liabilities, increase pension premium rates for both variable and flat rate premium paid to the pension benefit guaranty Corporation and establish a cap on the variable rate premium
  • Allow eligible federal employees to enter into a phased retirement, during which they continue to work part-time while drawing a partial salary and a partial civil service annuity
  • Repeal a requirement that the Department of Transportation reimburse the difference in cost between shipping foreign food aid on a U.S -flag ship and a foreign-flag ship

Supporting Documentation:

House Bill; House Bill Summary

Senate Bill; Senate Bill Summary

MAP 21 Tolling Letter (led by the Bipartisan Policy Center)

MAP-21 & Tolling, The Transportation Transformation Group

Congressional Research Service (CSR), Comparison of House & Senate highway bills [February 2012]