A picture of Representative Frank A. LoBiondo
Frank L.
Republican NJ 2

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  • Conference Report on H.R. 22, Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015

    by Representative Frank A. LoBiondo

    Posted on 2015-12-03

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    Read More about Conference Report on H.R. 22, Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015

    LoBIONDO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to offer comment on the FAST Act.

    I will support the bill. This is a strong, multi-year reauthorization which includes desperately needed funding for infrastructure repair and investment. I commend Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio for their work in producing a bipartisan bill I will also take this opportunity to remind my colleagues of a priority of mine to promote storm-resilient construction projects within the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

    The concrete products industries in my district in southern New Jersey has much to offer in helping the country build its transportation infrastructure. I know that many of my colleagues have similar constituent companies and workers, and I urge them to take note of my comments.

    I was pleased to support language in MAP-21 that was designed to help incorporate permeable pavements into the FHWA mission. Many of us on the eastern seaboard learned the utility of permeable pavements on Superstorm Sandy, and what flooding can do to our districts without warning if we are not prepared. I am happy to report that that language in MAP-21 dealing with permeable pavements is making good progress toward technological innovation that will Improve storm water mitigation, water quality, and more while providing aesthetically appealing paving surfaces.

    I will remind my constituents in New Jersey that, while the FAST Act overlooked an opportunity to take that technology further, I am still looking for ways to move permeable pavement technologies into the mainstream where they can benefit our constituents and save taxpayer money as well.

    In accordance with that goal, I submit the following material on passage of the FAST Act, and I hope that staff at FHWA and that the House and Senate will take note as well.

    MAP-21 authorized the Secretary to conduct technology transfer and adoption of permeable infiltration paving materials, practices, and systems that are designed to minimize environmental impacts, stormwater runoff, and flooding. Prior to MAP-21 and since, extreme rain events like Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and Superstorm Sandy, have underscored the need for stormwater mitigation. We encourage the Secretary to accelerate work on permeable pavements in anticipation of future events like Katrina, Rita, and Sandy. The Secretary is encouraged to conduct research on full scale load testing in permeable pavements for street, highway, and road shoulders to decrease environmental impacts and enhance sustainability. The Secretary is encouraged to conduct permeable pavement projects that demonstrate flood control and stormwater pollutant and volume reductions, including mitigation of impacts from superstorms and hurricanes, and life cycle cost analysis compared to conventional impervious pavements. Projects may include re-use and integration of permeable pavements with other cost-effective water conservation practices designed to treat, reduce, or remove pollutants by allowing stormwater runoff to retain infiltration capability similar to predevelopment hydrologic conditions, and for stormwater harvesting.

    We hope that FHWA will act upon language in Sec. 1428 of the FAST Act and previously existing authority to improve infrastructure integrity by adding innovative segmental wall technology for soil bank stabilization and roadway sound attenuation, and articulated technology for hydraulic sheer-resistant erosion control--areas in which emerging technologies could improve deliver marked benefits in surface transportation. Examples of emerging technologies that could meet the goals of this Act include cost effective segmental retaining walls that can make use of native soils and reduce construction costs, durable geosynthetic soil stabilization and anchoring, more durable articulated segmental unit slope protection and erosion control that are more resistant to hydraulic sheer and overtopping than riprap, and segmental roadway sound attenuation barriers that can give planners more options and help reduce procurement costs. We hope the Secretary will place primary emphasis on activities designed to assist state and local transportation agencies in reducing initial cost of construction of retaining walls, slope protection and erosion control, and sound attenuation barriers using high-quality transportation-grade materials, designs and engineering techniques. Specific activities might include validation of technology materials, soils requirements, design methodologies and engineering data; research to develop current, accurate scientific data on the performance of geosynthetic reinforcement for structural characteristics; a cost-sensitivity analysis to assist state and local authorities in projecting initial construction cost savings to life cycle requirements while providing competitive reliability; calibrating design methodologies based on tests of instrumented, full-scale testing of walls and barriers, slope stability, and segmental sound attenuation assemblies.

    Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 22, the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. This long-term authorization of surface transportation programs will provide the certainty that states and municipalities need to plan and build out critical transportation infrastructure projects.

    This 5-year, $305 billion measure represents a bi-partisan compromise to help repair our crumbling infrastructure and secure our economic future while creating thousands of good paying jobs. As both a conferee to the transportation bill and the senior Texan on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I can say with strong confidence that this legislation is a good-faith effort to make the important investments in our transportation infrastructure that our nation so desperately needs. While there are some shortcomings in the bill and some of us would like to have higher levels of investments be included, this bill will still help to further new and existing projects for the long-term.

    I am pleased to see that this bill supports research and development, including expanding university transportation center outreach to women and underrepresented populations. In going forward, I hope that we can do more to elevate our nation as a leader in multimodal transportation innovation.

    Mr. Speaker, Americans demand more investment in infrastructure and it is the responsibility of this Congress to make that investment. I applaud Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio and other members from the various committees of jurisdiction for their hard work on this bill. Passage of this legislation is a strong first step in keeping America competitive and helping to build and maintain our nation's critical transportation infrastructure.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. All time for debate has expired.

    Pursuant to House Resolution 546, the previous question is ordered.

    The question is on the conference report.

    The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that the ayes appeared to have it.

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