Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Advances Comprehensive Bill to Rebuild New Jersey Infrastructure and Accelerate American Economy
(Washington, DC) Today, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee advanced to the House floor the INVEST in America Act, a comprehensive bill to revitalize America’s aging infrastructure, accelerate our economic recovery, and help America transition to a clean transportation future. The bill, which represents a core piece of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, invests hundreds of billions of dollars in America’s roads, bridges, tunnels, railways, and transit systems; creates good-paying jobs while meeting the challenge of climate change; and includes several of Representative Malinowski’s legislative initiatives to fund the Gateway Program.
“I came to Congress to get something done for New Jersey commuters struggling to get to work each day, and got on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for that purpose,” said Representative Malinowski. “This bill funds New Jersey’s core highway and transit needs, including the Gateway project, while capitalizing on the enormous economic opportunity before us to lead the global transition to a clean energy future.”
The INVEST in America Act includes 13 member-designated project proposals authored by Representative Malinowski, which would bring $19.79 million in federal funds directly to New Jersey’s 7th District for important local infrastructure projects. These include congestion relief projects in Somerset County, bridge rehabilitation and New Jersey Transit station improvement projects in Union County, and truck safety and pedestrian walkway projects in Morris County.
The Committee also adopted an amendment from Representative Malinowski to support the development and deployment of construction materials that capture and store greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Carbon capture and storage will need to be a central part of any comprehensive strategy to address climate change, and Representative Malinowski’s amendment will help states develop the standards they need to procure and use these materials as they become available.
Among other provisions, the INVEST in America Act:
- Creates a Projects of National and Regional Significance program, which provides more than $12 billion for projects, like Gateway, that are too large and complex for full funding under existing programs;
- Includes more than $20 billion for the Capital Investment Grant program, the government’s main source of grant funding for public transit programs like Gateway;
- Triples funding for Amtrak, allowing for enhanced service and new investments along the Northeast Corridor (NEC) and National Network. The bill includes record-high funding for the NEC;
- Invests billions of dollars in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, helping the U.S. shift to the next generation of clean vehicles. The bill also directs U.S. federal agencies to establish standards and guidance on EV charging stations, including training of technicians, network connectivity, and physical and payment interoperability;
- Includes measures related to automatic emergency braking and underride guards to improve truck and highway safety; and
- Devotes $4 billion for zero-emission bus grants – an average annual increase of 1,500 percent over the funding levels in the previous surface transportation authorization bill.
Several other legislative initiatives spearheaded by Representative Malinowski are included in the bill, including:
- Representative Malinowski’s bill to make it easier for states to finance their portion of infrastructure projects, such as Gateway;
- Representative Malinowski’s bill to increase transparency in the Capital Investment Grant program by requiring the U.S. Department of Transportation to maintain an online dashboard with details of each applicant’s progress; and
- Key elements of a bill introduced by Chairman Peter DeFazio and Representative Malinowski to ensure that highly-flammable liquified natural gas is not moved through crowded neighborhoods in rail tank cars that are ill-equipped to safely carry it.
The bill addresses other safety-related issues that Representative Malinowski has championed as a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, including provisions to ensure that frontline transit workers have strong workplace safety protections in place; that Amtrak’s police force is adequately staffed; and that freight trains are prohibited from blocking highway-rail grade crossings for extended periods of time, which can inconvenience commuters and prevent first responder vehicles from quickly reaching those in need.
Surface transportation programs in the U.S. are currently authorized through September 30, 2021. The INVEST in America Act reauthorizes surface transportation programs through FY 2026.