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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

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.
Apr 26, 2013
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Albio Sires joined his colleagues in passing legislation by a vote of 361 to 41 that will make available up to $253 million in order to prevent additional furloughs of air traffic controllers. Earlier this year, devastating across-the-board cuts from the so-called budget sequestration were triggered as a result of House Republicans’ unwillingness to negotiate over a government spending package.
Apr 24, 2013
(Washington, D.C.)- Today, Congressman Albio Sires joined his colleagues at the first hearing conducted by the newly created “Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation.” This bipartisan committee will meet over a period of six months, and is charged with examining the current 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 Nation’s freight network.
Apr 17, 2013
(Washington D.C.)- Congressman Sires was selected by leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to join 10 of his colleagues for a special subcommittee charged with identifying ways to improve our nation’s freight transportation systems.
Apr 10, 2013
At today’s press conference, House Democrats highlighted how the plan will revitalize American industry and innovation, create jobs, and grow our economy by making progress in four key areas: developing a national manufacturing strategy, increasing manufacturing exports, encouraging businesses to bring innovation and jobs back home, and investing in training and securing the skilled workforce needed to support manufacturing in the twenty-first century.
Mar 5, 2013
With an estimated $10.3 trillion worth of goods using multiple modes of transportation each year, it is critical that Congress plan for the efficient movement of freight across all modes of transportation. The MOVE Freight Act will expand the definition of the national freight network to include rail, navigable waterways, inland ports, seaports, freight intermodal connectors, airports, and aerotropolis transportation systems, helping to establish a truly modern freight policy and ensuring U.S. global competitiveness.
Feb 14, 2013
Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member Rahall, thank you for holding this timely hearing. Taking this opportunity to look broadly at the Federal Government’s role in America’s transportation infrastructure sets a positive tone for the work we need to accomplish over the next two years, and I thank you for that. I want to also thank our panelists for attending today’s hearing.

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