“Legislation Represents a Unified Effort to Bring Our Transportation Systems Into the 21st Century”
Washington, D.C. – November 6, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Alaska Congressman Don Young, former Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, offered the following statement after House passage of H.R. 22, the Surface Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015:
“I have consistently worked to provide Alaskans with robust investments to develop our much needed infrastructure and transportation systems. The success of our state’s economy is directly reliant on our ability to safely and efficiently move our products and people, which is why I worked to secure numerous Alaskan focused provisions – including $31 million annually for the Alaska Railroad, funds for the Alaska Marine Highway System and critical Tribal Transportation dollars – within the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act.
“Today’s bipartisan legislation represents a unified effort to bring our transportation systems into the 21st century. By improving investments in our roads, railways and bridges through the elimination of red tape, duplicative government programs and overbearing permitting regulations, we allow our limited transportation dollars to go further and make larger impacts. I stand committed to ensuring our transportation systems are supported for years to come.”
H.R. 22, which passed today by a vote of 363 to 64, contains numerous Alaska-focused provisions championed by Congressmen Young in his senior role on the House T&I Committee, including:
$31 million annually for the Alaska Railroad through revisions to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA);
$210 million increase above current levels to the Tribal Transportation Program (TTP) over the next six years;
$67 million annually for the National Ferry Program for ferries and terminals;
A 1% reduction in administrative fees by the Bureau of Indian Affairs/ Federal Highway Administration;
Establishes the Tribal Self-Governance Program within USDOT;
Reauthorizes the popular Recreational Trails Program (RTP).
Overall, the bill would institute several important reforms including:
Converts the Surface Transportation Program (STP) to a block grant, giving state and local governments maximum flexibility;
Refocuses existing funding to create a National Significant Freight and Highway Projects Program funded at $4.5 billion through FY21;
Provides flexibility for states to invest in the nation’s bridges by expanding funding for bridges off the National Highway System;
Eliminates or consolidates at least six separate offices within the DOT that perform duplicative functions, and establishes a National Surface transportation and Innovative Finance Bureau to help state, local, and private sector partners with transportation projects;
Increases the focus of funding for roadway safety infrastructure and on the safety needs of rural roads;
Provides a competitive grant option to address bus and bus facility needs.
Click here for more details about the provisions included in the STRR Act.
Click here to view a recent letter Congressman Young sent the Secretary of Transportation stressing the importance of Alaska focused reforms and priorities included in the STRR Act.