Rep. Barletta, colleagues unveil five-year, $260B transportation bill that will put Americans back to work
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, PA-11, joined his colleagues on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to unveil a $260 billion, five-year reauthorization and reform of transportation programs that will create jobs and rebuild infrastructure in the district and the nation.
The American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act (H.R. 7) will be the largest transportation reform bill since the Interstate Highway System was created in 1956.
This act will reform and streamline transportation programs, cut red tape in the project approval process, increase states’ flexibility to fund their most critical needs, and encourage private sector participation in financing and building projects.
“Workers in the 11th District and around the nation are in desperate need of work, and our infrastructure is in desperate need of updating. The American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act is a $260 billion, five-year plan that will give construction companies stability so they can hire more employees and buy more equipment. It gives more power to the states so they can set their own transportation project priorities. It will consolidate or eliminate 70 duplicative programs, streamlining the project approval process and reducing wasteful overspending. Basically, this bill will create jobs, fix our infrastructure, let states and not Washington pick their transportation projects, and make American taxpayer dollars go farther. It’s much needed, and I’m proud to be a member of the committee that created it,” Rep. Barletta said.
Since the last surface transportation law was signed into law on August 10, 2005 – 2,366 days ago – Congress has approved eight short-term extensions.
“Short-term extensions only create more uncertainty among job creators, so putting a five-year plan in place will provide long-term program reform and stability for job creators and states to rebuild our highways and bridges,” Rep. Barletta said. “In years past, Washington bureaucrats told states how to spend their transportation money. I believe the states know what projects need to be completed, so this reauthorization puts the decision-making power back in their hands.”
The American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act streamlines and condenses the project review process by allowing federal agencies to review transportation projects at the same time, setting hard deadlines for federal agencies to approve projects, and granting more decision-making authority to states. Bureaucratic reviews often bog down infrastructure projects; for example, a project in California proposed to widen a dangerous roadway by no more than two feet, construct 2,000 feet of new guardrail, replace two culvert pipes, and resurface the road. It took more than seven years just to complete the environmental reviews and permit approvals – during which time there were additional serious accidents on that road.
“As a businessman who worked in the road construction business, I can tell you that there are huge hurdles to leap when you want to fix or improve our infrastructure. The American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act will help make our roads and bridges safer, put people back to work, and maintain fiscal responsibility,” Rep. Barletta said.