WASHINGTON – November 6, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), a member of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, released the following statement in response to House passage of H.R. 22, the DRIVE Act, which reauthorizes transportation infrastructure investments for highway and mass transit along with reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank:
“I am encouraged by the bipartisan cooperation shown in the House this week to fund our nation’s transportation infrastructure. Congress had been kicking the can down the road on transportation funding for too long. But with today’s passage of the highway and mass transit reauthorization, Congress is one step closer to finally providing the long-term funding certainty that states, localities, and American businesses need to begin modernizing our nation’s transportation system.
“I am also pleased with the long overdue reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank included in the transportation bill. The Ex-Im Bank helps support American companies selling their products overseas and is a vital piece of our export strategy. Last year alone, the Bank supported $27.5 billion in U.S. exports and approximately 164,000 jobs. House passage is an important step in reopening the Bank so it will be able to process applications and engage in new business once again.
“While final passage of this long-term transportation bill will provide much needed funding certainty, maintaining transportation funding at current levels is hardly the bold, forward thinking plan our country needs to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and create a 21st century transportation system. What America really needs is a long-term bill that makes significant investments in our transportation infrastructure and reforms the highway trust fund to ensure it remains solvent for years to come. This will requires bold ideas and a bipartisan effort.
“Over the past 50 years, as a share of our economy, our investment in transportation has shrunk by half. Without serious transportation investments we simply will not be able to compete in today’s global economy. President Obama likes to say that first class infrastructure attracts first class jobs. And he’s right. Businesses need strong infrastructure to grow. It’s time for Congress to go big and plan for the long-term projects that will modernize our infrastructure, spur economic growth and create jobs.”
H.R. 22 reauthorizes highway, bridge, transportation safety, and public transit projects for six years at the current funding levels, plus inflation, with only three years’ worth of offsets to pay for the bill. The legislation is a combination of the transportation bill reported out of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, offsets from the Senate-passed highway bill, and the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.