Hire More Heroes Act of 2015—Continuedby Senator Patty Murray
Posted on 2015-07-29
MURRAY. Mr. President, I am delighted to join the Senator from
Maine on the floor today to speak about this critical infrastructure
program called TIGER. She and I have worked together for many years on
transportation infrastructure, and I so appreciate her leadership and
her tremendous enthusiasm in making sure that our country does the
right thing. It is a delight to be here today with her, as well as with
my colleague from Rhode Island, who is now the ranking member on the
transportation appropriations subcommittee. I thank them both for
coming to the floor to speak about a program that we created several
years ago and that has been so effective.
We all know that investing in our Nation's infrastructure is a critical part of broad-based and long-term economic growth. As we can see today, this is not a partisan issue. Democrats and Republicans agree that infrastructure investments get workers back on the job, help our economy grow in communities across this country, and make sure our transportation systems work in a 21st century economy. That is why I am so proud to be a strong supporter of this bipartisan amendment that we are offering today. It has 29 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle. What it does is it continues the popular competitive grant program known as TIGER.
TIGER grants have made an impact in every corner of this country, and they represent exactly the type of investment our country should be making--addressing our Nation's short-term and long-term transportation issues while creating good-paying jobs--American jobs, I would add--and working to grow our economy from the middle out, not just the top down.
We have all seen firsthand the difference the TIGER program can make in our States. So that is why I fought, along with my colleagues, to get this amendment included in the final Transportation bill.
Since its creation, TIGER has awarded $4.1 billion directly to communities to support more than 340 innovative, multimodal projects in every State. For example, TIGER grants are increasing the flow of commerce and trade between Maine and New Hampshire because of improvements to the Memorial Bridge. In New Mexico, TIGER grants are being used to make critical safety improvements to a major trucking route where the fatality rate has been more than three times the State average. In my home State of Washington, $204 million has gone to 13 critical infrastructure projects across my State, from Seattle to Spokane to Vancouver.
Demand for TIGER funding is intense. Applications always exceed the amount of funding available, sometimes by as much as 20 to 1. It is clear that we can and should be doing so much more to help communities carry out these projects that make our transportation system safer and more efficient.
Though we hit some unfortunate and unnecessary barriers in passing the TIGER amendment, I know that Senator Collins and Senator Reed are going to continue fighting along with me to support this critical program. I hope more of our colleagues will join with us in boosting regional economies and in improving our Nation's infrastructure, because this type of program is so important to our States and our local agencies as they work to tackle the complex transportation needs of our communities.
Thank you, Mr. President.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.