On Dec. 18, President
Bush signed into law HR 2299, the Department of Transportation and Related
Agencies Appropriations Act. The bill appropriates $60 billion in transportation
funding for fiscal year 2002. Importantly, the bill permits Mexican trucks
access to U.S. highways provided they meet strict safety standards.
The bill appropriates
$140 million for border safety measures. Implementing the rules, however,
is expected to take months.
In other key initiatives,
the bill appropriates $5 billion for Coast Guard operations and capital expenses,
including $243 million to support expanded drug interdiction efforts as authorized
in the Western Hemisphere Drug Elimination Act; $1.2 billion for the newly
created Transportation Security Administration to enhance airport and aircraft
security; $32.8 billion for key highway infrastructure and safety initiatives
in compliance with authorized levels; $10.2 billion for aviation operations
and airport improvement grants to expand safety, security, and capacity; and
$6.7 billion for mass transit grants and capital programs.