Malinowski’s First Bill to Address Infrastructure Funding Disparities

January 23, 2019
Press Release
The Transportation Funding Fairness Act (TFFA) of 2019 allows states to attribute federal transportation loans towards their share of jointly funded large-scale infrastructure projects.

(Washington, DC) In his first bill, introduced today, Rep. Malinowski seeks to make it easier for states to finance their portion of infrastructure projects, such as the Gateway project between New Jersey and New York, that are jointly funded by federal and state governments.

At issue is the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) claim that federal loans taken out by states (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act and Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing) cannot be counted as part of those states’ share of jointly funded infrastructure projects, even though state governments are fully responsible for paying off the loans.  The Transportation Funding Fairness Act clarifies that states may use these loans to help meet their obligations.

BILL SUMMARY:

The TFFA works to eliminate the FTA’s newly assumed discretionary authority to declare TIFIA and RRIF loans as the federal share of an infrastructure project via two routes.

  1. Change 23 US Code 603 to say that states or other obligators may determine transportation loans as the federal or non-federal share of a project.
  2. Insert language into 49 US Code 5309 explicitly stating that the determination of where loans fall in federal/non-federal share of a project is determined in 23 US Code 603 (specifically the subsection amended from point 1).

“The TFFA will clear one of the obstacles the administration has placed in the path of building Gateway, and other similar projects around the country,” said Malinowski. “Funding for infrastructure is one issue on which I think the Congress can make progress this year, and this bill can be an important part of that effort.”

Malinowski’s legislation is co-sponsored by Reps. Pascrell, Pallone, Payne, Sires, Norcross, Watson-Coleman, Van Drew, Kim, Sherrill and enjoys the support of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART Union), Amalgamated Transit Union, and the Gateway Development Corporation.

“The SMART Transportation Division Supports The Transportation Funding Fairness Act,” said Ron Sabol, the New Jersey State Director for the SMART Transportation Division. “It’s about time we get funding fairness for our much needed infrastructure projects.”

“We thank Representative Malinowski for introducing legislation that makes it crystal clear that Federal loans, which must be repaid with local money, are in fact part of the local share of a transportation project. Repaying these loans are and have always been a local responsibility, and clarifying that fact is vital to keeping the Gateway projects moving forward with a true local and federal partnership,” said Gateway Development Corporation Chairman Jerry Zaro. “Treating these loans as part of the Federal share is like telling a homeowner that even though they paid off a mortgage with their own money, their house still belongs to the bank.”

“We can’t think of any other project in our region that is as vital as Gateway,” said ATU state Council Chairman Ray Greaves. “The ATU applauds the efforts of Congressman Malinowski and we are appalled over the refusals from President Trump to work with our NJ Congressional Representatives.”