Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Malinowski (NJ-7)
June 18, 2020
(Washington, DC) Today, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted to advance the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act (INVEST in America Act) to the House Floor. This comprehensive bill will revitalize America’s aging infrastructure, accelerate our economic recovery, and meet the challenge of climate change. The bill invests hundreds of billions of dollars in America’s roads, bridges, and transit systems, and includes several of Representative Malinowski’s legislative initiatives to advance the Gateway Project.
The Committee voted to include Representative Malinowski’s amendment requiring the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to promptly issue Records of Decision for Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) in the New Starts grant program. This will help to prevent the Administration from further stalling the Hudson Tunnel project, whose draft EIS has been languishing at DOT for nearly three years.
“This bill provides the resources to rebuild America with 21st century infrastructure that will help us win the race to a clean energy future,” said Representative Malinowski. “With the inclusion of my amendment, we will overcome the Administration’s stalling tactics and at long last get the Hudson Tunnel project moving forward.”
Several of the legislative initiatives spearheaded by Representative Malinowski are included in the INVEST in America Act, including:
- Representative Malinowski’s bill to make it easier for States to finance their portion of infrastructure projects, such as the Gateway Project.
- Representative Malinowski’s bill to increase transparency in the Capital Investment Grant (CIG) Program, the government’s main source of grant funding for public transit programs like the Gateway Project, by requiring the Department of Transportation to maintain an online dashboard with details of each applicant’s progress.
- Other grant-related provisions to make the Gateway Project a reality, including a new Passenger Rail Improvement, Modernization, and Expansion (PRIME) grant program, which will be entirely devoted to passenger rail improvements and expansion.
- Chairman Peter DeFazio and Representative Malinowski’s bill to ensure that highly-flammable liquified natural gas is not moved through crowded neighborhoods in rail tank cars that are ill-equipped to safely carry it.
Among other provisions, the INVEST in America Act:
- Creates a new federal program to fund Projects of Regional and National Significance (PRNS), which will provide grants to highway, transit, and freight projects that are too large to be funded through traditional sources. This will help to facilitate and speed the construction of New Jersey’s Gateway Project.
- Provides $494 billion over five years for infrastructure investments in surface and rail transportation.
- Provides $411 billion over five years out of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for highway, transit, safety, and research programs, a 46 percent increase over current investment levels.
- Provides $83.1 billion in FY 2021 at a 100 percent federal match to ensure that States, cities, and transit agencies struggling financially amid the COVID-19 pandemic can administer programs, advance projects, and preserve jobs.
- Triples funding for Amtrak–$29.3 billion over five years, including a record $13.1 billion for the Northeast Corridor.
- Incentivizes transit agencies, such as New Jersey Transit, to add new routes and provide reliable service, encouraging viable public transit options and fewer single-occupant cars clogging highways.
- Creates a new carbon pollution reduction program, investing $8.3 billion in highway, transit, and rail projects that will reduce greenhouse gases, and holds States accountable for their performance by measuring annual progress and requiring low-performing States to dedicate additional resources toward reducing carbon pollution.
- Invests $1.75 billion in alternative fuel charging infrastructure, helping America shift to the next generation of clean vehicles.
- Establishes a new pre-disaster mitigation program, providing $6.25 billion to help States prepare for and mitigate the impacts of climate change and extreme weather, including through natural infrastructure.
- Invests $1.725 billion in zero emission buses, greening our transit systems and improving air quality in our communities.
The bill addresses other safety-related issues that Representative Malinowski has championed as a member of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, including provisions to ensure that frontline transit workers have strong workplace safety protections in place; that Amtrak’s police force is adequately staffed; and that unreasonably long freight trains are prohibited from blocking railway grade crossings for extended periods of time, which can inconvenience commuters and prevent first responder vehicles from quickly reaching those in need.
Surface transportation programs in the U.S. are currently authorized through FY 2020 by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act). The INVEST in America Act reauthorizes surface transportation programs through FY 2025.