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Congressman Albio Sires

Representing the 8th District of New Jersey

Transportation

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.

A National Infrastructure Initiative

There is an urgent need to repair and modernize our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. As a member of the House of Representatives’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I have long worked to ensure that communities in New Jersey and around the country have the resources they need to fix their transportation networks, and upgrade critical energy and water infrastructure. In fact, as a member of the conference committee to negotiate the Fix America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015, I worked to provide New Jersey with over $5 billion for federal-aid highway funding and over $3 billion for transit program funding.

I am encouraged that the Trump Administration shares my urgency, but I disagree with their approach to addressing it. The President’s infrastructure initiative, which was advertised as a $1.5 trillion Federal investment, actually only provides $200 billion over ten years. That is not nearly enough to tackle the nation’s infrastructure projects backlog.

In the 115th Congress, I have supported legislation to provide hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure investments for States and cities (H.R. 1164), legislation to empower ports across the country to keep the air in their community clean and mitigate community impacts of continuous truck traffic (H.R. 4147), and a resolution calling for a bold jobs and infrastructure package that benefits all Americans (H.Con.Res. 63). Federal infrastructure funding does not have to be a partisan fight and I look forward to working with my colleagues on a bill that does not short change our communities in need.

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.

The Gateway Project

The Gateway Project is an absolute priority for me, for our District, for our State, and for the nation. The century-old infrastructure that connects New Jersey to New York is crumbling due to its age and to the residual damage caused by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Repairing and upgrading this infrastructure, which includes the Hudson River tunnels and the Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River, is absolutely vital for our economy. The tunnels carry 200,000 passengers crossing between Newark and Manhattan each day - this is economic activity which the nation cannot afford to lose.

That is why I have long advocated for Federal financial assistance for the Gateway Project, and have continuously expressed my disbelief every time the Trump Administration has walked these Federal commitments back. The Administration’s outrages are too numerous to list in one letter, but they include a wholesale unjustified rejection of an agreed-to financing plan between our State and the government, and an admission that President Trump himself sees the Project as an excess.

I do not accept the logic that Federal financial assistance for the Gateway Project is an excess - especially when New Jersey, New York, and the Port Authority have worked so hard to identify ways to pay for half of the $30 billion Project. In fact, I relayed these concerns directly to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao at a recent hearing of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The Gateway Project is too important to be the subject of political gamesmanship, and I will keep working to bring this assistance home for the thousands of people who depend on this crucial transportation infrastructure.

More on Transportation

Aug 2, 2013
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Albio Sires introduced the Commute Less Act, a bill that will provide employers with the tools and resources they need to give their employees real transportation alternatives, such as rideshare and telework programs, or shuttle services to connect business parks with transit stations.
Jul 29, 2013
Over the weekend, I was joined by members of the “Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation” for a two day delegation to New Jersey and New York. In addition to touring the Port of New York and New Jersey, including Port Newark-Elizabeth and Greenville Yard, the Panel conducted a field hearing focusing on the ways in which urban freight challenges impact the nation. According to the New Jersey Department of Labor, transportation, logistics, and distribution industries contribute more than 355,000 jobs—about 11% of New Jersey’s workforce—and move about $2 trillion in merchandise throughout the region each year, the importance of goods movement to New Jersey’s 8th District cannot be understated.
Jul 9, 2013
Washington, DC- Today, Congressman Sires was joined by mayors and elected officials representing various municipalities along the Hudson River Waterfront. This press conference addressed the growing concern communities throughout the New Jersey 8th Congressional District has had regarding increased helicopter traffic, along with safety issues and quality of life impact.
Jul 2, 2013
Washington, DC - This weekend’s helicopter crash on the Hudson River highlights once again the need for improved safety and stricter standards of the air-tour industry. Congressman Sires held a meeting today with Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Councilwoman Beth Mason of Hoboken and Freeholder Anthony Romano, as well as elected officials of Weehawken to request a ban on the helicopter tourist industry and also the concern both communities have regarding the increased helicopter traffic, safety issues and quality of life impact.
Jun 28, 2013
This week was a busy one in Congress. The House Appropriations Committee approved staggering cuts to Amtrak, affecting each of us along the Northeast Corridor. With Hurricane Sandy—the largest transit disaster in our nation’s history—still fresh in our minds, now is not the time to leave our passenger rail infrastructure vulnerable. For that reason, I attended the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing and questioned witnesses on how passenger rail services can respond to disasters in the face of huge budget cuts.
Jun 18, 2013
Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Albio Sires introduced the Community Parks Revitalization Act. This legislation is modeled after the Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act, which he introduced in the 111th and 112th Congresses with strong bipartisan support. The Community Parks Revitalization Act would create federal, matching grant programs and secured loans to revitalize parks and park infrastructure.
Jun 17, 2013
Congressman Sires was joined by State Senator Nicholas Sacco (D-32), and several State legislators in West New York, New Jersey at a press conference at the scene of the terrible accident that took the life of eight month old Angelie Paredes. To prevent future accidents and improve public safety, the legislators called for stricter regulations for drivers and bus companies.
Jun 4, 2013
This District Work Period, I traveled to Southern California with members of the “Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation” to learn about how freight transportation challenges on the West Coast impact the entire nation. The Freight Panel, composed of 9 members from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, was formed by leaders of the Transportation Committee as a special subcommittee charged with identifying ways to improve our nation’s freight transportation systems. During their visit to California, this Panel held roundtables, discussions, hearings, and on-site visits with industry stakeholders.
May 10, 2013
This week, I met with several groups from the district including nurses, students, and mail handlers. It is important to my work in D.C. to learn about the specific needs of New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District directly from my constituents. For the inside look on this week’s meetings, I invite you to continue reading my Washington Review.
Apr 26, 2013
The last week of April was a busy time in Congress. For the majority of the week, I focused my work on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. I heard from a variety of stakeholders on how to improve our infrastructure in the 21st Century and create jobs. To learn more about my work this week on transportation, and other priorities, including foreign affairs, I invite you to continue reading my Washington Review.

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