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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

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.
Oct 24, 2013
This was a constructive week in Congress. The House of Representatives passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA).
Oct 24, 2013
Washington, D.C – Last night, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) with overwhelming support, by a vote of 417 to 3. This bipartisan legislation reauthorizes the Water Resources Development Act—legislation responsible for authorizing the water resources program of the Army Corps of Engineers—for the first time since 2007. For New Jersey, that means vital port dredging projects that keep our ports competitive, a larger share of money for harbor maintenance projects, and greater infrastructure resiliency, protecting us against the damage of future storms.
Oct 17, 2013
I am relieved that Congress has finally broken through the gridlock that initiated the government shutdown. Although 16 days is far too long for this stalemate to have occurred, thousands of American families woke up today knowing that not only can they pay their bills, but the United States of America can continue paying its bills.
Oct 11, 2013
Today is the 11th day that the United States government is shutdown. Discussions in Congress continue, but uncertainty remains all too real for American families across the nation.
Oct 11, 2013
(Washington, D.C.)- Congressman Albio Sires joined his colleagues at the final hearing conducted by the specially appointed “Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation.”
Sep 20, 2013
Congress remains focused on domestic issues that are affecting the economy and the well-being of our nation such as food assistance programs and water resources. The House of Representatives just passed H.R. 3102, the “Nutrition Reform Opportunity Act”. I voted against this misguided legislation which strips food stamp aid from millions of Americans with hundreds of thousands more seeing reductions in their already limited benefits. Food aid programs ensure that America’s working families receive basic nutritional aid when they’ve fallen on hard times. It is disappointing that the House Majority is, once again, attempting to balance our budget on the backs of those who are most vulnerable while so many Americans are still struggling through the economic recovery.
Sep 19, 2013
Washington, D.C - Today, Congressman Sires proudly supported H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, which passed unanimously out of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. This bipartisan legislation reauthorizes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)—legislation responsible for authorizing the water resources program of the Army Corps of Engineers—for the first time since 2007.
Sep 13, 2013

Congress has faced critical policy dilemmas all year long including rising student loan interest rates, budget battles, and immigration reform, among other issues. Most recently, Congress has been charged with the difficult task of responding to the President’s proposal for military action in Syria. As Congress continues to examine and debate the next step for the United States, it is important not to lose focus on the issues at home.  

Sep 12, 2013
(Washington, D.C.) –Congressman Albio Sires met with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administrator Anne S. Ferro to discuss issues related to a recent bus crash in West New York, which resulted in the death of an 8-month-old girl. The FMCSA is the federal agency tasked with regulating commercial motor vehicles, including commuter busses.

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