May 15, 2014
Inhofe secures amendments supporting transportation research and NGV access to HOV lanes
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today praised the committee passage of the MAP-21 Reauthorization Act (S.2322) as well as the adoption of his amendments during committee mark-up:
“Today’s progress on the MAP-21 Reauthorization Act shows that there is strong bi-partisan support in Congress to provide long-term solutions for our nation’s transportation and infrastructure system,” said Inhofe. “This legislation maintains and builds on the reforms of MAP-21 from 2012 and will provide much-needed certainty in order to effectively move forward on improving our nation's infrastructure. I am also pleased the legislation continues to secure vital funding for transportation research and education through the University Transportation Center program.It’s essential that we support our nation’s next generation of transportation experts as they find innovative, cost-effective ways to improve our nation’s infrastructure.”
Inhofe’s adopted amendments are as follows:
University Transportation Centers (UTC): This amendment ensures UTCs receive level funding by requiring the Research Technology and Education authorization money to come from Highway Trust Fund dollars instead of being subjected to appropriations. UTC grants are essential in advancing transportation research and developing the next generation of transportation practitioners. In Sept. 2013, the University of Oklahoma was awarded a regional UTC, with Oklahoma State University and Langston University working alongside as contributing partners.
Gary Ridley, Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation: “The transportation community in Oklahoma would like to thank Senator Inhofe for preserving the dedicated funding University Transportation Centers receive with his successful amendment to the MAP-21 Reauthorization Act today. The work that the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, Langston University and other schools do to address the challenges facing our transportation systems is important to ensure the development of research and specialists in the field.”
High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Facilities: Under the 2005 Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), states are required to establish occupancy requirements for HOV lanes. Inhofe’s amendment updates the 2005 law to reflect the current state of technology, including natural gas vehicles to access HOV lanes. This amendment is supported by the American Association of Highway Users, environmental groups, auto manufacturers, and the natural gas industry.