The House and Senate have approved two six year bills and the differences are currently being ironed out in Conference. Therefore, Congress will most likely approve a short-term extension of transportation until early December 2015 (transportation policy expires Nov. 20, 2015). The extension into December will allow more time for the Conference Committee to negotiate a five to six year transportation package. Of the House members included in the Conference talks are Representatives Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Randy Neugebauer (R-TX), who successfully offered an amendment to remove the use of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guarantee fees (g-fees) from the House’s transportation package. Ideally their expertise and leadership will carry forward during the negotiations with the Senate to remove g-fees as a funding stream for transportation.
NAR believes two provisions that help create livability in communities across the United States will be included in the final transportation package: Complete Streets Policies and the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). TAP has been around for over twenty years and provides a portion of funding for sidewalks, bike lanes, and environmental mitigation efforts. In previous advocacy efforts NAR asked members to maintain the current TAP program and funding level. Additionally, NAR asked Congress to establish as baseline of safety design to accommodate all users of transportation systems. NAR has been a member of the Complete Streets National Coalition for over eight years. Inclusion of these two provisions would be considered a success for NAR’s membership.