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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

Nov 6, 2017

Last week in Washington, the Republicans introduced a tax plan, I questioned FEMA administrators on their disaster response efforts at a Transportation and Infrastructure Hearing, listened to the testimony of a North Korean defector at a Foreign Affairs Hearing, and held a number of meetings. Additionally, the House voted on legislation to strip funds from critical health programs.

Oct 6, 2017

While in Washington this week, I cosponsored several pieces of legislation that would make it harder for guns to be converted, managed two bills on the House Floor, and I pressed a panel at the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee Hearing on the urgent need for investment in transportation infrastructure. I also met with members of the New Jersey Education Association to discuss education priorities.

Jul 21, 2017

While in Washington this week, I expressed my concerns about the lack of infrastructure investment at a Highways and Transit Subcommittee Hearing, spent time with American heroes at the Congressional Charity Golf Classic, discussed the importance of engaging with the Caribbean at a Western Hemisphere Subcommittee hearing, and held a number of meetings.

Jul 5, 2017

While in Washington last week, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee marked up the 21st Century AIRR Act, I questioned UN Ambassador Nikki Haley at a Foreign Affairs Committee Meeting, and held a number of meetings.

Jun 23, 2017

This week in Washington,  the Senate released their proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act, I attended a Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee hearing on passenger rail service, and held a number of meetings.

May 25, 2017

This week in Washington, I spoke out against the President’s budget proposal and the CBO score of the Republican health care bill, attended markups in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee, and the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, and held a number of meetings.

May 19, 2017

This week in Washington, I pushed for a special prosecutor and independent commission to investigate the Administration’s ties to Russia, attended a hearing on air traffic control (ATC) privatization and energy opportunities in South America, and held a number of meetings.

May 2, 2017

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Sires participated in a House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure hearing that examined U.S. airline customer service policies in light of recent incidents on major U.S. air carriers.

May 2, 2017

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, H.R. 1679, the FEMA Accountability, Modernization and Transparency Act of 2017, cosponsored by Congressman Sires, unanimously passed the House of Representatives.  Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) and Rep. Albio Sires introduced H.R. 1679 to ensure that the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) efforts to modernize its grants management system are accessible and transparent. 

Apr 28, 2017

This week in Washington, I voted on legislation to prevent a government shutdown, participated in a number of hearings, held a number of meetings, sent a letter to President Trump, and honored human rights defenders at an event hosted by the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI).

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