The Fast Act (H.R. 22)by Representative Betty McCollum
Posted on 2015-12-18
in the house of representatives
Friday, December 18, 2015
Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Speaker, after years of unnecessary delays and
short term patches, I am pleased that Congress has finally passed a
long term surface transportation bill that addresses the needs of our
nation's crumbling infrastructure.
The FAST Act (H.R. 22) provides $281 billion for highway, transit, and highway safety programs. This is $26.8 billion above fiscal year 2015 levels and $12.8 billion above what would have been allocated in the earlier House-passed version of the bill. For Minnesotans, this means a 5% increase in federal highway funding and an 8% increase for transit support.
H.R. 22 establishes two new initiatives that will provide dedicated federal funding specifically targeted at reducing freight bottlenecks around the country. This legislation promotes safety by boosting funding for railway-highway grade crossings, motor carrier safety grants, and includes $200 million to help commuter railroads implement Positive Train Control. The FAST Act also reauthorizes the Ex-Im Bank, which aids small to medium-sized businesses in attracting new customers and provide critical resources necessary to export goods and services around the globe.
While I am disappointed that some of the funding levels in the conference agreement are not as robust as I would like, I recognize the importance of giving federal, state and local planners and contractors the long-term stability and resources necessary to repair our highways and bridges, prioritize rail, and pipeline safety, and grow our transit infrastructure as a whole. This is a significant accomplishment, and shows that it is possible for this Congress to work together in a bipartisan manner.
I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this legislation and continuing to invest in American infrastructure.