Rep. Huffman Votes for Five-Year Surface Transportation Bill, First Long-Term Federal Investment in Roads, Bridges & Transit Since 2005
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Jared Huffman voted to adopt the conference report on Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) -- a measure that reauthorizes highway, bridge, transportation safety, and public transit projects for the next five years. The bill provides $281 billion in guaranteed funding for these programs, the first time Congress has passed a long-term surface transportation reauthorization since 2005. The measure also reauthorizes the critically important Export-Import Bank for four years, which helps American workers and businesses compete in the global economy. The measure was adopted by a bipartisan vote of 359 to 65.
“When I joined the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee at the start of this Congress, my highest priority was ensuring long-term investments in all modes, from our highways and bridges to mass transit,” said Huffman. “My participation in the crafting of the FAST Act convinces me that Congress can come together for the good of the nation and moving America forward when we work together in good faith. By providing guaranteed funding for the next five years, this measure will allow us to continue to support critical infrastructure projects, such as SMART, congestion relief along Highway 101, and realignment at Last Chance Grade.”
The final FAST Act agreement between the House and Senate includes an update to the federal funding formula for public ferries, giving greater prioritization to ferry services like those in the Bay Area that serve a high number of passengers and vehicles. Rep. Huffman led a bipartisan letter in support of including these provisions, which will increase funding for Bay Area ferry systems including Golden Gate Ferry and WETA.
Also included in the measure is a fix to the new Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan program to allow the use of tax-exempt municipal financing for these water resource projects. This provision will would incentivize local public capital to use the WIFIA program to finance water resources infrastructure projects. Congressman Huffman’s Drought Relief and Resilience Act (H.R. 2983) contained a similar provision to assist drought-stricken states.
During committee markup of the bill, an amendment that Rep. Huffman cosponsored was adopted to ensure that state and local communities consider projects and strategies that enhance travel and tourism during their transportation planning processes.
Rep. Huffman was named by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for the 114th Congress, and has worked closely on the committee with Ranking Democrat Peter DeFazio (D-OR). The committee holds jurisdiction over the Army Corps of Engineers, the Coast Guard, Department of Transportation, the nation’s roads, bridges, highways, ferries, inland waterways, pipelines, and improvement of rivers and harbors.
The conference report includes a number of additional provisions supporting key California and national priorities, including:
Increasing funding for the state of California to a total of $19.4 billion for federal highway funding, over $1.7 billion above the current funding levels.
Increasing funding of almost $600 million for transit for the state of California. This includes injecting $3.7 billion over five years into bus funding nationwide – a 75 percent increase over current levels. This will reduce traffic congestion by providing more public transportation options.
Authorizing $10.2 billion for intercity passenger rail investment, including Amtrak, while providing $199 million in guaranteed funding to help commuter railroads implement Positive Train Control systems.
Increasing American manufacturing jobs by strengthening “Buy America” requirements.
Creating a Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects grant program that will provide competitive funding for large projects to reduce the impact of congestion, generate national and regional economic benefits, and facilitate the efficient movement of freight.
The conference report also contains the important Kirk-Heitkamp Export-Import Bank Reauthorization bill, which had been included in both the Senate-passed and the House-passed highway bills. The measure reauthorizes the bank for four years and includes various reforms.