The transportation infrastructure networks that serve our country are having a hard time keeping up with service demands. More people are driving or using public transportation, but states have less money to repair and upgrade this infrastructure. Our congressional district is not an exception and we have all struggled with old bridges, late trains, and potholed roads.
As a member of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, I have worked to authorize programs that allow New Jersey to tap into federal money for infrastructure projects. The federal government has a responsibility to help states that need assistance financing upgrades, and I continuously work to increase funding for grant programs that cities can use to finance big infrastructure upgrades projects.
The federal government has an important role in helping states finance big transportation projects that benefit large swaths of the country through the movements of goods and people. There are many projects around the country – bridge upgrades, commuter rail maintenance, and road repair – which cannot be finished without a helping hand from Congress.
This Congress, I introduced:
- H.R. 543, a bill which requires the Federal Railroad Administration to inform Members of Congress when it is conducting a safety audit of a railroad within a Member’s district. This bill was passed the House of Representatives unanimously on February 6, 2019 and now awaits consideration in the Senate.
I have co-sponsored numerous infrastructure bills including:
- H.R. 180, the Build America Act of 2019, directing the Department of Transportation to carry out a national infrastructure investment grant program for big investments in transportation infrastructure.
- H.R. 1428, the Transportation Infrastructure for Job Creation Act, providing an additional $7.5 billion for national infrastructure investments under an existing Department of Transportation grant program.
- I supported S. 1689, a bill to help states facing water-related public health threats access federal funds for projects that remove lead from drinking water. This bill was passed by the House and Senate and was signed into law by the President on October 4, 2019.
The Gateway Project
The most important, and complex, infrastructure network on the east coast is in our District. The tunnels and rail lines that connect New Jersey and New York are over 100 years old and were battered during Superstorm Sandy. They are in operation today, used to move freight and passengers throughout the region, but they are in desperate need of repair. Without federal government help, state authorities will be forced to shut them down for emergency maintenance or a tunnel could become unuseable - reducing the capacity by up to 75 percent. The Gateway Project is a massive undertaking to protect the economic viability of the region that includes repairing and upgrading these tunnels that tens of thousands of commuters travel through each day as they go in and out of Manhattan.
New Jersey cannot finance the project by itself, and it should not have to. As a Member of Congress, I have consistently pushed the Department of Transportation to move the Gateway Project’s federal grant application through the Department’s project review process. Repairing and expanding these tunnels will impact anyone who commutes in the northeastern United States or travels by rail along the entire east coast. We cannot afford to play politics with something this important.
Aviation and Ports
The aviation industry is an important sector of our economy and commercial aviation employs thousands of people around the country. Our congressional district is home to part of Newark Liberty International Airport employs 22,000 people, serves 50 airline carriers, and generates $33 billion in economic activity.
This Congress, I have supported legislation that authorizes airline safety programs, pays federal airline employees in case of a government shutdown, and requires training for airline crew members to identify and address fume events onboard aircraft. I will continue my work in the 166th Congress to ensure that our airports have the resources they need to serve my constituents and our airlines have the tools they need to keep passengers safe.
Our district is also home to ports that serve as a throughway for products coming into our country and goods being sold abroad. I have supported legislative efforts to increase funding for grants and loans programs that our ports can draw from for upgrades and repair projects that keep our district competitive.
Transportation and the infrastructure necessary to keep it up impacts our everyday lives. If any one of our nation’s transportation infrastructure network breaks down, Americans immediately feel the impact - especially residents of New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District. That is why I have worked so hard to provide our States and cities with the federal funds they need to maintain current infrastructure networks, expand current infrastructure, and build new projects to meet the needs of growing cities and expanding economies.
More on Transportation
This week in Washington, I participated in various Committee hearings, discussed important topics with several constituent groups, and met with foreign officials.
This week in Washington, I participated in a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, supported critical pieces of legislation, attended a joint session of Congress, and met with various constituent groups.
I first attended Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address before a joint session of Congress. As we examine U.S. policy towards Iran, we must take smart, clear steps towards addressing our concerns with the Iranian regime and protecting our national security abroad.
(Washington, D.C.) - On March 4, 2015, the House of Representatives voted for H.R. 749, the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015, by a vote of 316-101. The bill would provide $7.2 billion for passenger rail over the next four years, including $1.9 billion to improve Amtrak routes that run through New Jersey in the Northeast Corridor. It would also provide $1.2 billion for intercity passenger rail grants, half of which would be dedicated to the Northeast Corridor.
(Washington, DC) - U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, as well as Congressmen Frank Pallone (N.J.-06), Bill Pascrell (N.J.-09), Albio Sires (N.J.-08) and Donald Payne, Jr. (N.J.-10), today announced a combined $458,635,200 in federal Sandy relief grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to rebuild and make New Jersey's transit network more resilient to future natural disasters.
(Weehawken, N.J.) - U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Congressmen Albio Sires (N.J.-08) and Congressman Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.-10) today stood shoulder-to-shoulder with N.J. state, county and local officials to announce the latest effort by a united, bi-state coalition to end the proliferation of helicopter traffic over the Hudson River risking public safety and the quality of life for residents living along the waterfront. Legislation being introduced by N.J. Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and State Senator Nicholas Sacco, chair of the N.J.
This week in Washington, I participated in various Committee and Subcommittee hearings, and met with several constituent groups, as well as foreign officials.
Over the past two weeks in Washington, I reintroduced important legislation, participated in several Subcommittee hearings, met with various constituent organizations, and voted on legislation in the House.
This week in New Jersey, I presented a replacement Purple Heart award to one of my constituents, and in Washington, reflected on the President’s State of the Union address, voted on several critical bills, and was renamed to several Subcommittees in the 114th Congress.
(Washington, D.C.) - Today, Congressman Sires announced that he will continue to serve as a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the 114th Congress. As a member of the Committee, he will also serve on the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit and the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials. In addition, he was newly appointed to serve on the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management as well. Sires has been a member of the Committee since 2008.