09/11/2017 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/11/2017 09:34
Offers Amendments to Increase Transportation Funding, which Republicans Refused to Make in Order
WASHINGTON - Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, announced her opposition to H.R. 3354 - the House Republicans' spending package of 8 appropriations bills that is being considered on the House floor this week - and condemned Republican leaders for refusing to allow the House to consider her amendments to restore federal funding for transportation infrastructure in Los Angeles County and other communities across the country.
'I strongly oppose H.R. 3354, a bill that is woefully insufficient to meet our nation's infrastructure needs,' said Congresswoman Waters. 'My amendments to the House Republicans' spending bill would have restored critical funding for transportation infrastructure and created jobs in cities like Los Angeles, Inglewood, Torrance, and Gardena. I am deeply dismayed that Republican leaders refused to consider my amendments, and instead chose to prioritize partisan politics over the needs of the American people.'
Congresswoman Waters' amendments would have restored funding for the popular 'TIGER' program, which creates jobs by funding investments in transportation infrastructure and which the House Republicans eliminated from their spending bill. When the House reconvened on the evening of Tuesday, September 5th, Congresswoman Waters urged the Rules Committee to allow her to offer the amendments on the House floor, but the Republican-dominated Rules Committee refused to make them in order.
The Congresswoman's first amendment provides $550 million for TIGER in fiscal year 2018, which is the same as the amount provided by the Senate in its spending bill. The Congresswoman's second amendment provides $7.5 billion for TIGER in order to jump start infrastructure investments and create jobs nationwide. The amendments were cosponsored by Reps. André Carson (D-IN), Elizabeth H. Esty (D-CT), Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), Mark Pocan (D-WI), and Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ).
'Previous TIGER grants helped the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) accelerate the construction of the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor -- a light rail project that will improve transportation service in the cities of Los Angeles and Inglewood in my district,' said Congresswoman Waters. 'With sufficient funding, TIGER could also improve local highways, reduce traffic congestion, and assist other transit agencies, such as Torrance Transit and the City of Gardena's GTrans system in my congressional district.'
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave the infrastructure of the United States an overall grade of 'D+' in 2017 and estimated that the United States will need to invest $4.59 trillion by 2025 in order to improve the condition of the nation's infrastructure and bring it to a state of good repair. ASCE assigned a 'D' grade to the nation's roads, a 'C+' grade to bridges, and a 'D-' grade to transit systems and estimated that the United States will need to invest $2.04 trillion by 2025 to bring the nation's surface transportation infrastructure to a state of good repair.
'A safe, efficient, modern, and accessible transportation system is vital for a growing economy,' said Congresswoman Waters. 'I urge my colleagues in the Senate to insist upon robust funding for TIGER and reject the House Republicans' misguided attempt to eliminate this important program.'
Earlier this year, Congresswoman Waters sent a letter to the Appropriations Committee urging them to provide an appropriation of $1.25 billion for the TIGER program in fiscal year 2018, in order to expand job creation and repair critical transportation infrastructure nationwide. That letter was led by Congresswoman Waters and signed by 140 Members of Congress.
 Rules Committee Hearing, 9/5/17, https://rules.house.gov/video/rules-committee-hearing-hr-3354, at approximately 3:22.
https://rules.house.gov/bill/115/hr-3354#rule-information, Division H, Amendments #7 and 8.
 ASCE Report Card, Executive Summary, p. 2, 5, https://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/2017-IRC-Executive-Summary-FINAL-FINAL.pdf.
 ASCE Report Card, Executive Summary, p. 3, 5, https://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/2017-IRC-Executive-Summary-FINAL-FINAL.pdf.