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Transportation

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.

Federal Work

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

Jan 16, 2015

This week in Washington, I officially reintroduced pieces of key legislation, voted on several critical bills, and was renamed to several Subcommittees in the 114th Congress.

I first reintroduced several important pieces of legislation that were not afforded the opportunity to come before the House of Representatives for a vote in the 113th Congress. I reintroduced six bills thus far including:

Jan 6, 2015

(Jersey City, N.J) – More than a dozen federal, state and local elected officials, as well as labor advocates, joined at a press conference today calling on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to withdraw their proposal to eliminate overnight PATH service.  

Nov 21, 2014

Over the past two weeks in Washington, I participated in a subcommittee hearing and committee markup session for several important pieces of legislation, spoke with airline pilots about the aviation industry, reflected on the importance of Veterans Day, and attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Bayonne Fire Department’s new firehouse.

Sep 17, 2014

(Washington, D.C.)- Today, Congressman Sires supported multiple bills brought before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, including a bill that would provide $7 billion for Amtrak over the next four years, including $1.88 billion to improve Amtrak routes that run through New Jersey in the Northeast Corridor.

Sep 10, 2014

(Washington, D.C.)- U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-NJ) and Congressmen Albio Sires (NJ-08) and Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) today announced a $14,800,000 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to improve and expand facilities at Port Newark, create hundreds of jobs and enhance economic opportunities throughout the region. 

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).
Apr 8, 2014
(Washington, D.C.) - Last week, Congressman Sires wrote a letter to House Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Energy and Water Chairman Mike Simpson and Ranking Member Marcy Kaptur requesting the Committee allocate $50 million to the Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program for alternative fuel deployment activities. He additionally asked that $25 million of the request be put towards competitive grants that support innovative alternative fuel and vehicle deployment strategies.
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.

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