08/05/2015

 Senate passes long-term transportation bill
3-month patch still needed after House leaves town

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate passed a long-term transportation bill, but with House lawmakers already dispersed for their August recess, the bill will become just one more sticky issue on a jam-packed congressional agenda in the fall.

The $350 billion long-term bill was approved Thursday on a 65-34 vote with bipartisan support. It would make changes to highway, transit, railroad and auto safety programs, but its sponsors were only able to find enough money to pay for the first three years of the six-year bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the bill's passage, "a win for our country.  Many thought we'd never get here, but we have," he said.

Immediately after the vote, the Senate turned to a three-month patch previously passed by the House that extends the government's authority to

process highway and transit aid payments to states through Oct. 29. Without congressional action, that authority expires at midnight Friday. House Republican leaders opted for the patch to give themselves more time to work on a long-term - and long-sought - transportation bill.

Lawmakers have said they are loath to take up yet another short-term transportation funding extension - this will be the 34th extension since 2009. But Republicans and Democrats don't want to see transportation aid cut off, and they are eager to pass an amendment to the extension bill that fills a $3.4 billion hole in the Department of Veterans Affairs' budget. The money gap threatens to force the closure of hospitals and clinics nationwide.

The delay on House action on a long-term transportation bill adds one more messy fight to a fall agenda already crammed with difficult, must-pass legislation. Twelve annual spending bills face a Sept. 30 deadline but are being held up by a clash over the Confederate flag. Congress must also decide whether to approve or disapprove President Barack Obama's Iran nuclear deal, and whether to pass a contentious defense policy bill that faces a veto threat from the White House. Another fight is certain over raising the nation's borrowing authority.

Spending authority for the Federal Aviation Administration expires Sept. 30. Since long-term bills to set aviation policy have yet to be introduced in either the House or the Senate, lawmakers acknowledge they will have to pass short-term extensions there as well.

The Senate's long-term transportation bill also renews the Export-Import Bank, which makes low-interest loans to help U.S. companies sell their products overseas. The bank's charter expired June 30 in the face of opposition from conservatives, who call it corporate welfare. A fight in the House over renewal of the bank is also likely.

The long-term transportation bill shores up the federal Highway Trust Fund for three years by using about $45 billion in revenue increases and making spending cuts elsewhere in the federal budget. The largest source of funds is $16 billion that would be saved by reducing the dividend rate the government pays to large banks.

The bill also attempts to speed up environmental reviews of construction projects and encourages states to impose user fees on electric vehicles because they use roadways but don't contribute to federal gas tax revenues. It also sets aside money for major projects and directs highway aid to major freight transportation corridors, starting with $1.5 billion in fiscal 2016 and increasing to $2.5 billion in 2021.

The bill shores up the federal Highway Trust Fund for three years by using about $45 billion in revenue increases and making spending cuts elsewhere in the federal budget. The largest source of funds is $16 billion that would be saved by reducing the dividend rate the government pays to large banks.

 
 Northfield Lines Takes delivery of ADA Compliant
 2015 Van Hool CX45s from ABC Companies
 

 

Eagan, Minnesota, based Northfield Lines has recently taken delivery of four ADA compliant 2015 Van Hool CX45’s from ABC Companies, Van Hool's exclusive North American distributor.

Reflecting Northfield's commitment to passenger comfort, the coaches are equipped with wood-grain floors, 110 volt outlets, WiFi, enclosed parcel racks and REI elite entertainment systems with 6 large video monitors, magazine nets, cup holders, Alcoa Dura Bright aluminum wheels, window shades and Van Hool's unique rear passenger windows.

The 56 passenger coaches come with Van Hool's standard safety features including Kidde fire suppression, Smartwave tire monitoring, automatic traction control, lane departure warning, backup camera and are UN ECE-RU66 rollover certified. They are powered by Detroit DD13 engines coupled to Allison B500G5 transmissions.

FOR SALE


Used ACC walk around brush washer. New gearbox, new brushes, 3 phase motor. Clean them up quick and get them back on the road. Call Jerry @ 615-417-3951.

FOR SALE


Used DIESEL POWERED brush washer. Great shape. PERFECT for REMOTE BUS WASHING !! Call Jerry @ 615-417-3951 for more details. Don't wait, these will be gone quick !!!!

 

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“ABC and John McFarlane have become like family to us. They seem as committed to our success as we are,” says Northfield CEO John Benjamin. “Over the years, as we've expanded the company, we have worked hard at remembering where we came from. Our sales staff meets weekly to discuss how to better serve clients. We genuinely car about our customers, but even a good marriage needs fine tuning. We look for new ways to show them that they're our number one priority.”

McFarlane points out, “Northfield has won numerous awards for excellence because they provide the region with a variety of services performed at a superior level. They prove that it's possible for a relatively small coach operator to be remarkably diverse. It's difficult for large companies to diversify effectively, and almost unheard of for a small company to do it successfully. They've done it with both style and quality.”

ABC Companies is a leading provider to the transportation industry with diverse product and service offerings that cover a full spectrum of operational needs including new and pre-owned full size highway coach equipment, mid-size shuttle transport vehicles, and advanced design heavy duty transit equipment. ABC supports customers with a comprehensive after sale service network for service and repairs, collision services, extensive OEM and quality aftermarket parts needs for transit, motorcoach and heavy-duty equipment from 10 strategically placed locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Additionally, private and municipal financing and leasing options are available through the company's financial services group – one of the largest financial service providers within the industry. For more information, contact ABC Companies at 800-222-2875 or visit the company web site at www.abc-companies.com.

   

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