Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Sharice Davids (KS-3)
Today, Representative Sharice Davids (D-KS) announced that two infrastructure projects in Kansas’ Third District, the expansion of US Highway 69 and purchase of electric buses for KCATA, have been selected for federal funding through the INVEST in America Act, the comprehensive federal surface transportation bill. Additionally, two bills introduced earlier this year by Davids, the Resilient Repairs Act and the Helping Communities Invest in Infrastructure Act, have been included in the broader legislation.
“The Third District of Kansas has waited a long time for these investments, and I am glad to see the funds I requested for US Highway 69 and KCATA electric buses included in the Committee’s bill. I will continue to push for them to be directed to our community, as both projects would make lasting improvements to safety and bring good-paying, stable jobs to our region,” said Davids. “I am also proud to see that two bills I introduced have been included, both of which advance smart, sustainable, and affordable infrastructure policy. This is a solid step towards the type of investment that we need to create a system that works for everyone and is built to last. I will continue to advocate for these provisions as the bill progresses.”
“Kansans are well-served by Representative Davids’ leadership on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee,” said Chair DeFazio. “As Vice Chair of the full Committee, Representative Davids brings a fresh perspective and is key to making sure we are addressing the infrastructure needs of communities of all sizes. I look forward to working with her closely as we move the INVEST in America Act through Congress to bring our infrastructure into the 21st century and beyond.”
The INVEST in America Act reauthorizes many important transportation programs and makes historic investments in infrastructure needs across the country. The bill includes $15 million to improve the U.S. Highway 69 interchange at 167th St, a longtime priority for the Third District, and $10.5 million for the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) to purchase electric buses, a joint effort with Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO). Thousands of requests were submitted by a bipartisan cohort of members, and these two projects were among those carefully vetted and selected to receive federal funds due to their potential to increase access, reduce carbon pollution, support underserved communities, and modernize our nation’s infrastructure.
“Thanks to the leadership of Representative Davids on the T&I Committee, I’m thrilled to see our joint effort to obtain over $10 million for the KCATA to purchase zero fare electric buses was successful,” said Congressman Cleaver. “Not only will this funding help our communities transition to cleaner, more sustainable transit infrastructure, but it will help to generate significant economic activity by allowing Kansas Citians to commute throughout the metro area for free and KCATA to invest in other projects that will create good-paying jobs. Investing in America is never a bad decision—and investing in infrastructure that is sustainable, resilient, and made for the 21st century is exactly what’s needed to help our communities build back better from the coronavirus pandemic.”
Davids has been recognized as a leader on transportation and infrastructure policy, and two of her recent bills aimed at bringing smart, sustainable infrastructure investments to Kansas communities are now included in the INVEST In America Act. The Resilient Repairs Act would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to rebuild damaged highways, roads, and trails with resiliency in mind—reducing the likelihood of recurring future repairs and minimizing the cost to taxpayers. The Helping Communities Invest in Infrastructure Act will help local communities access infrastructure financing for their projects through existing, but underutilized programs like the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program.
“The resiliency of our transportation network is essential to keep the Kansas economy moving. As we explore how to future-proof our infrastructure investments, resiliency considerations for increasingly affected infrastructure becomes more important every year,” said Kansas Secretary of Transportation Julie Lorenz. “Additionally, one of the guiding principles of the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation program (IKE) is to leverage partnerships to deliver infrastructure investments. Adjustments to TIFIA that benefit rural states and create opportunities to save state taxpayers money would be another tool to assist in funding IKE.”
As Vice Chair of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Davids will join her colleagues to consider the bill at a markup scheduled for June 9, 2021. The current surface transportation authorization expires September 30, and the INVEST in America Act would reauthorize these critical programs for another five years. For more information on the bill, visit the Committee website.