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Congressman Albio Sires

Representing the 8th District of New Jersey

Transportation

Transportation touches every facet of our lives. If any part of the transportation system breaks down, we feel the impact immediately. Investment in our transportation modes is vital to enhancing our economy, increasing our safety, maintaining our global competitiveness, and most importantly improving our quality of life. Through my work on the House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I am actively working on transportation issues that are important to the 8th District.     

Surface Transportation Bill

On December 3, 2015, I joined my colleagues in the House in passing legislation to authorize surface transportation programs that was signed into law by President Obama on December 4, 2015. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act authorizes $305 billion over fiscal years 2016 through 2020 for highway, highway and motor vehicle safety, public transportation, motor carrier safety, hazardous materials safety, rail, and research, technology, and statistics programs.

Freight and Moving Goods

New Jersey’s economy depends largely on our ability to effectively and efficiently move goods.  More than 269,000, or approximately 1 in 8, jobs in the state are directly affected by the goods movement industry, which includes the shipping of everything from food and clothing to cars and industrial supplies.  More efficient goods movement enhances our ability to move on the roads, decreases harmful environmental effects, and minimizes damage to our infrastructure.

The Department of Transportation estimates that freight tons transported are expected to double by 2035, and this increase will lead to increased congestion on our nation’s already overburdened highways, railways, airports, and ports.

The FAST Act included an average $1.2 billion per year for a new National Highway Freight Program and established a discretionary competitive grant program of $4.5 billion over five years to provide financial assistance to nationally and regionally significant highway, rail, port, and intermodal freight and highway projects. As New Jersey’s freight capabilities continue to expand with projects like the deepening of the Port of New York and New Jersey and the raising of the Bayonne Bridge, I will continue to advocate for dedicated funding streams to assist large multimodal freight projects.

Aviation

The aviation industry is a crucial sector of the United States economy. Commercial aviation is responsible for roughly five percent of our gross domestic product and contributes roughly eleven million American jobs to our economy.

The 8th District of New Jersey is home to part of Newark Liberty International Airport, the nation’s oldest airfield and home to the nation’s first commercial airline terminal. The airport employs 20,000 people and contributes around $22.9 billion in economic activity to the New Jersey- New York region.

It is important that the concerns of pilots, airport employees, and passengers are addressed in aviation legislation. As Congress considers the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration in the 115th Congress, I will work with my colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to ensure that the concerns of the people of New Jersey are heard.

Gateway                                                                                                                          

New Jersey is located on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (NEC), the nation’s busiest rail line that connects Washington, D.C. to Boston, Massachusetts. The NEC is at or near capacity at many locations, and much of its infrastructure is outdated and in need of upgrades. The only intercity passenger rail crossing that connects New Jersey to Manhattan is over 100 years old and operates at 95 percent capacity at rush hour which creates a bottleneck that limits train volume across the whole NEC.

The Gateway Program is a comprehensive package of strategic investments on the NEC to improve current Amtrak service and allow for greater passenger capacity. Gateway will increase track, tunnel, bridge, and station capacity, and eventually create four mainline tracks between Newark, New Jersey, and Penn Station, New York. The target completion is 2030. Many residents of the 8th District rely on Amtrak for passenger rail and will benefit from improving the NEC. As a Member of the House Subcommittee on Railroads and Pipelines, I will monitor this project as it moves forward.

More on Transportation

Jan 31, 2014

Thank you for reading this edition of my Washington Review. This week I reflected upon the President’s State of the Union address, introduced two new pieces of legislation in the House of Representatives, and worked with my colleagues in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs to mark up a bill to bring to the floor for a vote.

Jan 29, 2014
(Washington D.C.) - Today, Congressman Sires introduced the New Opportunities for Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Financing Act of 2014. Modeled after the successful Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), this bipartisan legislation will allow communities to take advantage of low-cost financing for projects that make our streets and sidewalks safer for all users. This proven model has demonstrated that each dollar of federal financing can provide up to $10 in credit assistance and leverage an additional $30 in private or other public sector funding. Most importantly, by using existing federal transportation funds, this program will not create a single dollar of new government spending.
Jan 28, 2014
(Washington D.C.)- Today, Congressman Sires questioned witnesses at a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing as to how the federal government can make our roads safer for all users. The hearing, entitled, “Improving the Effectiveness of the Federal Surface Transportation Safety Grant Programs”, focused broadly on gains in highway safety and the important role the federal government has played in reducing roadway fatalities. However, Congressman Sires pointed out that while traffic fatalities have shown a downward trend, bicycle, pedestrian, and motorcycle deaths have increased sharply.
Dec 23, 2013
(Washington, D.C.)—Today, Congressman Albio Sires welcomed the announcement that $3 billion in competitive grant funding through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Hurricane Sandy Resilience Program will be made available for public transportation resiliency projects in regions affected by Hurricane Sandy, including New Jersey. Earlier this month, Congressman Sires urged FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff to provide the additional grant funding as expeditiously as possible so that New Jersey can continue addressing future transit vulnerabilities.
Dec 12, 2013

December 11, 2013- Congressman Sires pressed FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff for the expedient release of approximately $3 billion in infrastructure resiliency funding for the Northeast region at a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Hearing.  The Federal Transit Administration has already allocated $1.3 billion from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2012 for locally prioritized resiliency projects.  Administrator Rogoff indicated that the additional $3 billion is on track to be released before the end of the year, a portion of which will help address future vulnerabili

Oct 31, 2013
This was an important week for the specially appointed Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation. After six months of deliberation, the Panel completed its mission. Less than a week after Congress voted 417 to 3 in favor of a major transportation authorization bill, I was joined by my colleagues on the Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation to announce a series of bipartisan recommendations in our report to Congress. The findings of the Panel will play a key role in the development of a long-term surface transportation bill which is expected to be completed before the end of 2014. These common sense, bipartisan recommendations will also help ensure that New Jersey remains competitive and will ensure that our nation, which moves nearly $20 trillion in goods on our transportation network each year, remains competitive.
Oct 29, 2013
(Washington, D.C.)- Today, Congressman Albio Sires joined his colleagues to introduce the final recommendations of the specially appointed “Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation.” The ad-hoc subcommittee has met over the past six months to examine the role freight transportation plays in the U.S. economy and how the federal government can work to increase the efficiency, safety, and security of our critical transportation network.

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