The Senate passed the MAP-21 bill by a vote of 74-22 yesterday. The bill, whose full name is “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act,” will consolidate federal transportation programs. Most important, however, is that it directs that 80% of all fines from the BP oil spill be directed to the Gulf States affected by the spill. This means that Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana could see some $16 billion to re-build the Gulf and its losses.
The amendment to the MAP-21 bill which protected the BP oil spill fines, called the Restore Act, was sponsored by Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, a Democrat. Twenty-two Republicans crossed the aisle to pass the bill in a demonstration of bi-partisan support. MAP-21 now moves to the House, where quick passage might be the rule of the day, as the bill either creates or preserves an estimated 2.8 million jobs. Once passed into law, MAP-21 will consolidate numerous federal programs relating to, among other things, the aging interstate highway system.