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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

Jul 15, 2014

(Washington, D.C.)- Today, Congressman Sires voted for H.R. 5021, the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014, which passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 367-55. The legislation would extend surface transportation programs authorized under current law through May 31, 2015, and would infuse $10.9 billion into the Highway Trust Fund.

May 20, 2014
(Washington, D.C.)- Today, Congressman Sires proudly supported the Conference Report of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, which passed overwhelmingly (412 to 4) in the House of Representatives. The Conference Report of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act authorizes water infrastructure projects for the first time since 2007, invests in America’s transportation network, and includes key provisions that permanently codify Davis-Bacon prevailing wages and Buy America provisions for the construction of wastewater treatment infrastructure funded under the Clean Water State-Revolving-Fund (SRF) and Water Infrastructure Financing and Innovation Act (WIFIA).
Mar 26, 2014
The Temecula City Council this week could vote to support legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would create a low-interest, long-term loan program to help communities build biking and walking networks.
Mar 4, 2014

ATLANTA – Like other cities, Atlanta is seeing an explosive interest in biking.

The city will soon launch its first bike share program. In April, the first of four bike-themed street festivals this year is expected to draw tens of thousands to the historic West End. Mayor Kasim Reed aims to double the number of bicycle-to-work commuters by 2016. And the state Department of Transportation recently got in on the act, adding protected bicycle lanes along Ponce de Leon Avenue.

Feb 11, 2014
As cycling to work becomes more popular, it also is getting more dangerous — and a lawmaker is proposing to address the problem by dedicating new funding for construction of infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians.
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.

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