House Lawmakers Highlight Infrastructure in Budget Talks
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House lawmakers intend to pursue funding for freight connectivity projects as part of fiscal 2024 budget negotiations on Capitol Hill.
Funding for rail, transit and water infrastructure projects were priorities raised during a recent subcommittee hearing of House funding leaders.
Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas) pressed members of the transportation and housing appropriations panel to consider backing a grant program essential to freight rail projects nationwide. Ensuring safe and efficient rail connectivity would benefit her district, as well as regions statewide.
“This program funds projects that improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of intercity passenger and freight rail,” as she put it during a hearing on March 30.
Rep. Greg Landsman (D-Ohio) pressed the subcommittee to focus on transit improvement projects. He highlighted the role of transit in his district. “During the height of the pandemic, the voters of Cincinnati and Hamilton County approved a bold plan to improve our regional transit system. We brought together Republicans and Democrats, business and labor, and folks from all walks of life — to figure out how to better connect children, families, workers, and seniors to places they need to go, reliably and affordably.”
Landsman added: “This plan was significantly bolstered through key federal funding and support that has assisted Southwest Ohio in thinking big and thinking boldly about how we plan our communities, and how we meet people where they are and better their lives. Everyone needs to get to the grocery store, the doctor’s office, to school and to work — and we need to make sure we have the robust system in place to make that happen.”
Kayne Grau, CEO of Uptake, discusses ways that fleets can use data to prevent expensive truck repairs. Hear the program above and at RoadSigns.TTNews.com.
At the hearing, Rep. Kim Schrier (D-Wash.) raised concerns associated with water infrastructure. “Cities and counties are managing a tremendous amount of aging transportation infrastructure.”
“Local governments and their associated city councils and county commissioners are prioritizing transportation projects based on the needs and safety of their traveling public. These same local governments also have lists of transportation-related fish passage barriers, that despite being serviceable, would be a benefit to salmon recovery if replaced,” she went on.
The Republican leadership in the chamber intends to draft a fiscal 2024 transportation appropriations bill over the coming weeks. Attention will be devoted to budgetary oversight. “As we face growing threats at our border and around the globe, the president’s proposal spends far too much on unnecessary programs at the expense of our national security. America simply cannot afford this misguided plan,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-Texas) reacting to President Joe Biden’s fiscal 2024 budget request. She continued, “Congress will now get to work, reviewing it line by line to identify programs that do not require additional investments and to insert our own priorities.”
For fiscal 2024, the White House is calling on Congress to approve $951.3 million for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. That proposal includes $435 million for its safety operations division and $516.3 million for its motor carrier safety grants unit. FMCSA oversees commercial vehicles, such as heavy-duty trucks and buses. For the Federal Highway Administration the White House is seeking $60.8 billion. For the Federal Transit Administration the White House’s proposal would provide $17 billion and for the Federal Railroad Administration it would provide $4.8 billion.
Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), ranking member on the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, touted the White House’s recent funding request.
“President Biden’s budget will build on his plan for America — a plan designed to give middle-class Americans the tools they need to succeed, while ensuring those at the top pay their fair share. Investment in affordable housing, and improved transportation infrastructure are critical to this effort, and why I am glad the president’s request meets these needs,” Quigley said.
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