Esty Applauds House Passage of Long-Term Transportation Legislation to Fix Roads, Bridges, Transit Systems
December 3, 2015
Championed the Inclusion of Multiple Bipartisan Amendments, Helped Secure Critical Funding for Connecticut
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) applauded House passage of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), a bipartisan, long-term transportation bill that will create jobs, rebuild and replace the nation’s aging infrastructure, and boost the economy. As a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Rep. Esty secured the inclusion of multiple amendments and victories for Connecticut, which will receive over $3.5 billion – an increase of over $310 million from current funding levels – to fix crumbling roads, bridges, and transit systems.
“After 10 consecutive years of short-term fixes, the House of Representatives today made a significant step forward for the American people by investing in our highway, transit, and highway safety programs over the next five years,” said Esty. “I’m proud to serve on this Committee, which worked together in a bipartisan manner to create jobs and rebuild and renew our ailing transportation system. In the process, we also supported American manufacturers by reauthorizing the Export-Import bank and supporting so many businesses, jobs, and communities. This legislation isn’t perfect. There’s always more that can be done to bring our transportation systems into the 21st Century, but I’m pleased the House came together today to support a long-term investment in the American people. And I am proud that my commonsense solutions were incorporated into this final piece of legislation. “
The FAST Act is a five-year, fully paid-for surface transportation reauthorization of federal highway, transit, highway safety, motor carrier safety, hazardous materials, and passenger rail programs. The bill provides long-term certainty for states and local governments, strengthens Buy America provisions that create jobs and boost American manufacturing, and increases funding for freight projects, public transit, Amtrak, and transportation alternatives.
The five-year bill includes the following bipartisan amendments from Rep. Esty that address significant needs in Connecticut:
Support New England Dairy Farmers
Given the perishable nature of milk, milk haulers must transport milk carefully and in a timely manner, all while complying with state and federal safety regulations.
After hearing from dairy producers in Connecticut’s Fifth District, Esty championed the inclusion of her dairy amendment, which allows states to issue special permits to bulk milk haulers that would classify milk as non-divisible loads to ensure milk is moved safely and timely. This will reduce the number of trucks needed to transport milk, cutting transportation costs and improving the bottom line for small business farms and consumers.
Buy America Requirements
The FAST Act increases Buy America domestic content requirements for buses and rail cars from the current level of 60 percent to 65 percent in 2018, then to 70 percent in 2020.
Rep. Esty’s amendment authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to enter into contracts with national nonprofit organizations to assist providers of public transportation in meeting Buy America requirements.
Alternative Fuel Vehicle Corridors
Rep. Esty’s amendment establishes a National Electric Vehicle Charging, Hydrogen, Propane, and Natural Gas Fueling Corridors. This effort will help advance the use of alternative fuel vehicles by growing electric vehicle charging infrastructure, hydrogen infrastructure, propane, and natural gas fueling infrastructure at strategic locations along major national highways across the United States.
Study on Performance of Bridges
It’s important for citizens to know whether taxpayer dollars have been saved by the use of innovative construction and engineering techniques.
Rep. Esty amendment directs the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study on the performance of bridges that received funding under the innovative bridge research and construction program.
Guardrail Training Grant
Guardrail systems are proven roadway safety countermeasures that save the lives of the motoring public each and every day.
Rep. Esty’s amendment adds training for the installation and maintenance of guardrail systems as an eligible activity under the existing Work Zone Safety Grant.
Pollinator Habitat and Forage
Honeybees and other pollinators play a critical role in agricultural systems all over the world.
Rep. Esty cosponsored an amendment that would encourage pollinator habitat and forage on transportation rights-of-way. With bees dying off at alarming rates, our food security and nutritional livelihood is at stake and it is critical we act to protect our pollinators.