Last week, following a concerted effort by the Chamber, our members, and our allies, Congress approved a five-year highway and mass transit bill that will increase infrastructure funding, reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank, implement an important permit streamlining provision, and make some helpful financial services reforms.
The president signed that bill into law on Friday, marking a major victory for the business community and the American economy.
The bill provides $305 billion over five years for highways and mass transit, giving states the certainty they need to undertake long-term projects and to begin to address the backlog of much-needed transportation and transit work.
Even though the Ex-Im Bank enjoys overwhelming bipartisan support in both houses of Congress, its revival was far from a sure thing following the expiration of its charter in June. This reauthorization could not come soon enough as American jobs were already being lost or moved overseas due to lack of access to Ex-Im financing.
The permit streamlining provisions in the highway bill are groundbreaking and highly significant. They will improve and speed up the review and approval of permitting for complex development projects, ensuring that projects are not unnecessarily delayed or canceled because of ineffective and uncoordinated reviews by federal agencies.
Financial Services Reform
The highway bill also contains a number of provisions that will provide some targeted regulatory relief for smaller financial institutions and help small and growing businesses obtain capital. Specifically, the measures will reduce corporate reporting costs for smaller companies; help emerging growth companies access financing; and amend Dodd-Frank in a number of ways to reduce regulatory burdens.
Thank you for all that you did to make these accomplishments possible. The efforts of you and your members demonstrate how the business community can truly make a difference in the passage of common sense policies that drive growth and job creation.
We look forward to continuing to work together to combat the many hurdles the business community still faces and push for policies that allow our businesses and communities to thrive.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce