WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today released the following statement after the Committee approved the Surface Transportation Investment Act, as well as five other bills, three nominations, and Coast Guard promotions.
“This bill continues the Commerce Committee’s strong history of working across the aisle to find solutions that benefit all Americans,” Wicker said. “The legislation will grow the economy by increasing authorized funding and making improvements to our rail, freight, research, and safety programs. I thank Senator Cantwell for her dedication to these issues, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass a comprehensive infrastructure package through the Senate.”
The Surface Transportation Investment Act Highlights:
MULTIMODAL AND FREIGHT INVESTMENTS - $28 billion
- Freight: This bill invests an average of $1.2 billion a year in the Nationally Significant Multimodal Freight grant program, also known as INFRA. Additionally, the bill provides resources for multistate planning and research.
- Multimodal Investment: This bill for the first time authorizes the U. S. Department of Transportation’s BUILD/RAISE grant program at $1.5 billion annually and creates a new program to fund big dollar value projects of national significance at $2 billion annually. Additionally, the bill provides rural and tribal communities with the resources and tools to better plan and compete for financial assistance.
- Multimodal freight policy: The bill authorizes a new office of Multimodal Freight Infrastructure and Policy, updates the National Freight Strategic Plan, and improves coordination between the federal and state governments on freight planning.
RAIL - $36 billion
- Passenger Rail: This bill authorizes over $25 billion over five years for intercity passenger rail, the most significant bipartisan investment in passenger rail in history. This bill protects Amtrak’s critically important long-distance routes, provides funding to address the Northeast Corridor project backlog, and encourages expansion of passenger rail corridors with State support.
- Safety: This bill invests $7.5 billion over five years for rail safety and improvement projects, including a new $500 million per year grant program to eliminate grade crossings and a significant increase in funding for the popular Consolidated Rail and Infrastructure Safety Improvement (CRISI) grant program.
- RRIF: The bill makes substantial improvements to the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Program (RRIF) to make it a more attractive and useful to potential borrowers. For the first time, it authorizes $50 million per year for credit risk premium assistance similar to other U.S. DOT loan programs, expands eligibility to transit-oriented development projects and landside port infrastructure, and codifies the RRIF express program targeted at smaller and rural project applicants.
SAFETY - $13 billion
- Highway Safety: This bill invests $6 billion into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s highway safety programs
- Truck Safety: This bill invests $4.6 billion into the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s commercial vehicle programs through proven programs that provide flexibility to states to help address highway fatalities, combat human trafficking, and improve law enforcement training.
- Hazardous Materials Safety: This legislation invests $500 million dollars over five years to improve first responder planning and training for hazardous material incidents.
RESEARCH - $1 billion
- This bill invests nearly $1 billion for new and existing research and development programs.
The legislation also reauthorizes and makes important reforms to many of the agencies in the Department of Transportation including:
- The Office of the Secretary
- The Federal Railroad Administration
- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s Hazardous Materials Programs