Bipartisan Bill Would Give Greater Voice To Local Communities In Funding Transportation Projects
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17), a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, fought to expand local control over federal transportation dollars by joining with Congressman Rodney Davis (IL-13) and introducing the bipartisan Innovation in Surface Transportation Act. This bill, which is supported by the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, would create a competitive in-state grant process in which eligible local entities may compete for a larger portion of federal transportation funding.
"We know that by investing in our infrastructure we are making a down payment on our region’s long-term economic future,”said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. "This bipartisan, common sense bill will allow local leaders to have a greater say in how federal infrastructure dollars are invested. I’m proud to join with my colleagues to lead the charge on this important effort to create new opportunities for local economic growth.”
"The Innovation in Surface Transportation Act will unlock Federal transportation funding to allow us to advance our locally-driven innovative solutions for our unique transportation challenges,” said Scott VanDeWoestyne, Director of Government Affairs for the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, in a letter of support to Congresswoman Bustos. "We stand behind you and are extremely appreciative that you are championing this innovative and important policy.”
Currently, less than 15 percent of all authorized federal highway funds and only one grant program are available to cities and counties. To combat this problem, this bill would allow local jurisdictions to compete for a larger share of federal funds on a competitive basis. Local jurisdictions, metropolitan planning organizations, transit providers, and others would be in charge of developing projects for consideration. This way, a panel of local stakeholders would decide which projects to approve based on how the project could improve the transportation system, promote innovation, and spur economic development.
An identical version of this bill has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS). Full text of the House bill can be found HERE.
Bustos is a strong proponent of investing in transportation and infrastructure priorities. She recently sent letters to Governor Bruce Rauner, outlining her transportation priorities and advocating for expanding passenger rail service from Chicago to Rockford to Galena.