US Congress passes key transportation bill

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The 2015 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is prepared for travel from Alaska to the District of Columbia. Photo credit: Darrell Parks, SkyBitz (PRNewsFoto/Alaska Airlines)

US congressional approval of legislation reauthorising the US Export-Import Bank for five years has been welcomed.

This legislation is part of five-year $305 billion highway bill to pump cash into road and rail infrastructure, which was passed by Congress yesterday.

The bill has now been sent to the White House and the Wall Street Journal reports that president Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill.

The Export-Import Bank and highway bill as a whole is set to boost the air cargo industry for both ground infrastructure and for aircraft financing, thereby helping freight forwarders and firms in the supply chain.

Boeing president and chief executive officer Dennis Muilenburg says: “By reopening the Export-Import Bank, Congress has taken strong action enabling American exporters and the skilled workers they employ to compete successfully in tough global markets.

“We commend the bipartisan majorities in both the House and the Senate that recognised the Ex-Im Bank’s value to the US economy by voting several times in recent months to reauthorise.

“With these votes, Congress did the right thing for workers at companies large and small across the nation, including the 1.5 million workers at nearly 15,000 US companies that help Boeing design, make and support America’s aerospace exports.”

The Ex-Im Bank has been out of business since June, when Congress allowed its charter to expire, but it is seen as important to trade as it allows US firms to sell high-value items such as aircraft by offering financing. It also includes a rise in customs fees.