House Passes Long-Term Highway and Transit Funding Bill; Rep. Lipinski Appointed to Conference Committee to Work Out Differences with Senate (November 6, 2015)

The House has approved the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act, the first long-term transportation bill since 2005.  As the most senior member from Illinois on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) worked hard to improve and pass this bipartisan six year bill.  Following its passage, he was selected to serve on the small conference committee that will reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions of this important legislation.

“This bill is far from perfect, but it will provide some certainty in the long process of repairing and upgrading the crumbling infrastructure that we all rely upon,” stated Rep. Lipinski.  “I was able to make changes in critical areas impacting transit and freight, and hope to continue to build on that with my colleagues in the Senate in the conference committee.”

Rep. Lipinski helped create a freight program that will provide $4.46 billion over the next six years in the form of discretionary grants for grade separations and other much-needed projects.  He successfully defended funding for public transportation and for alternative transportation infrastructure which had been threatened.  He also amended language in the bill that would have limited the ability of transit agencies to use some federal funds for important rehabilitation projects, such as the CTA’s Red and Purple Line Modernization projects, resulting in potential delays for many cities. 

In addition, Lipinski increased Buy America requirements and successfully offered an amendment to increase the safety of tank cars used to transport crude oil.

He also authored sections of the transportation research portion of the bill under jurisdiction of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.  Included in this is language to speed the development and use of connected and autonomous vehicles which will improve safety, save fuel, move traffic more efficiently, and improve the quality of life for all drivers.