Norton Features H Street Bridge to Put a Face on Her Campaign for a Long-Term Surface Transportation Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 12, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — With the surface transportation authorization expiring on May 31, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Ranking Member of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee, will host a public roundtable tomorrow, Wednesday, May 13, 2015, at 2:30 p.m. in 2167 Rayburn House Office Building, for Democratic Members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to showcase projects in their districts that are stalled due to uncertainty of federal surface transportation funding. The Norton roundtable is during National Infrastructure Week (May 11-15), and will take place with just six legislative days until the expiration of federal highway and transit programs. The roundtable will also feature a panel of transportation experts and officials.
Yesterday, Norton visited the H Street Bridge, a critical District of Columbia infrastructure project, which, like thousands of projects nationwide, depends on Congress replenishing the Highway Trust Fund and passing a long-term surface transportation reauthorization bill. Norton said the District is at risk of losing over 1,000 jobs and $79 million in federal highway funds if the current surface transportation authorization expires. Norton visited the H Street Bridge not only because of its structural defects, but because it exemplifies several of the most important uses of new transportation funds. Norton calls the H Street Bridge, also known as the “Hopscotch Bridge,” the “Bridge to Everywhere and Everything,” because it bears or leads to every form of transportation: DC Streetcar, both intercity and WMATA buses, Metro, Amtrak, MARC, and leads to federal roads I-395 and Route 50. In addition, she emphasized that two major projects await the H Street Bridge’s reconstruction—Union Station and Burnham Place, a new community to be located there. The bridge project is estimated to cost $275 million, but Union Station rehabilitation will bring billions of dollars in new development.
Norton surveyed the site with D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT) Deputy Director Greer Gillis. DDOT has said the H Street Bridge will need to be fully replaced within five years. H Street is a federal-aid highway, and the project to reconstruct the H Street Bridge relies on federal highway trust fund formula dollars and the federal loan program authorized by the surface transportation reauthorization, the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program.
“The H Street Bridge is the perfect example of the critical local infrastructure projects at risk if there is yet another failure to pass a surface transportation bill long enough to get major projects done,” Norton said. “The untold transportation and infrastructure story, however, is not about roads and bridges, but the billions of dollars in economic development that cannot move forward because funding for the necessary infrastructure is stalled. Infrastructure investments in the H Street Bridge and 30 other D.C. projects that need new funding are essential to creating good-paying jobs throughout the District and for growing our economy. As ranking member of the reauthorizing subcommittee, I am featuring the H Street Bridge and have asked the Democrats on my subcommittee to highlight critical infrastructure needs in their districts as well. Congress needs the pressure of an infrastructure face on our roads and bridges to ward off another delay in reauthorizing transit funds.”