Menendez, Pascrell Announce $275 Billion for Transportation Funding
New Jersey to receive increased funding for Transit and Highways
WASHINGTON - US Representatives Bob Menendez (NJ-13) and Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-8), members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (T&I), today voted in Committee on the a six-year, $275 billion Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (TEA LU) to replace the expiring Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, known as TEA 21. The bill has passed committee and now heads to the House Floor for a vote.
"As the Senior New Jersey member on this committee, I want to recognize the leadership of the committee in producing a bill within the constraints that they had and in keeping so many items that are of great important policy intact. But I do hope that we can challenge ourselves to come to a higher plane, as I think we have under-funded the nation's transportation and infrastructure needs," said Menendez, Chairman of the Democratic Caucus.
"There are few issues before this Congress more important to the state of New Jersey than the renewal of federal surface transportation programs," said Pascrell, Member of the House Subcommittee on Highways, Transit, and Pipelines. "New Jersey gets a good deal under the TEA-LU bill our bipartisan Transportation Committee passed today, with $425 million more for New Jersey highways and $463 million for New Jersey Transit, but we can and must try to do much better."
TEA-LU will reauthorize the federal highway, public transportation, highway safety, and motor carrier safety programs for 6 years, from fiscal years 2004 through 2009. Originally announced in November 2003 at a funding level of $375 billion for 6 years, pressure from the Bush Administration has decreased the funding level in the House bill to $275 billion. Overall, transit funding level is $36,464,047,006, with New Jersey scheduled to receive $2,098,273,741, an increase of $436,368,732 over TEA-21 levels. Highway funding is at $188,015,849,804, with New Jersey receiving $4,778,565,225, an increase of $425,381,521.
Additionally, TEA-LU includes new programs aimed at improving America's transportation infrastructure, such as:
- NATIONAL CORRIDOR INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM -creates a new program that makes allocations to States for highway construction projects in corridors of national significance.
- FREIGHT INTERMODAL CONNECTORS -establishes a new program to improve the productivity and efficiency of the transportation of freight, while mitigating congestion in the area of freight intermodal connectors.
- PROJECTS OF NATIONAL AND REGIONAL SIGNIFICANCE -establishes a program to fund high-cost critical transportation infrastructure projects that will provide local, regional and national benefits in improving economic productivity, relieving congestion, and enhancing safety.
- INTERMODAL CHASSIS ROADABILITY RULE-MAKING - directs the Secretary to initiate a rule making to ensure that equipment used to transport intermodal chassis is safe.
- PEDESTRIAN AND CYCLIST EQUITY - establishes a safe routes to school program to make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation alternative.
"Compared with the $375 billion transportation bill that would meet the needs of our congested nation, this bill includes important policy provisions that are severely under funded. This Congress has an obligation to pass a more robust highway and transit renewal, to create needed jobs, foster safety, and protect our environment. Bottom line -- the sound transportation investments and policies we are working toward will do wonders to improve the quality of life of North Jersey residents," added Pascrell.
"Congress has a responsibility to challenge the administration on its short-sighted vision. Democrats stand ready to help meet the stronger clearer safer vision of that funding level which really provides us with a type of legacy for users and a type of legacy for America and New Jersey that we collectively want to see," concluded Menendez.