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Congressman Peter DeFazio

Representing the 4th District of OREGON

House Passes Bipartisan, Long-Term Transportation Legislation to Fix Crumbling Roads, Bridges, Transit Systems

Dec 4, 2015
Press Release
Bill Provides $281 Billion to Oregon for Highways, Transit

Today, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio applauded House passage of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), a bipartisan, long-term transportation bill that will create family-wage jobs, rebuild and replace the nation’s aging infrastructure, and boost the economy.

The FAST Act is the bicameral, bipartisan agreement of the House-Senate Conference Committee that was tasked with resolving differences between the surface transportation bills passed earlier this year in the House and Senate.  The bill passed the House of Representatives with 359 votes.

DeFazio was the lead House Democratic negotiator on the bill.

“After ten years of short-term band-aids and extensions, Congress will finally pass a long-term, bipartisan surface transportation bill that will begin to deal with our aging network of roads, bridges, and transit systems,” said DeFazio.  “This is a common-sense, bipartisan bill that provides our state and local governments with the certainty they need to begin to plan for long-term projects that bring our aging system into the 21st century. This legislation isn’t perfect. However, I am happy that the FAST Act includes higher funding levels than the House-passed bill. I am also pleased that it includes a critical provision that allows for automatic adjustments and increased infrastructure investment if more money flows into the Highway Trust Fund.  If Congress does the right thing and comes up with more revenue to deposit into the Highway Trust Fund, this mechanism will allow those funds to be invested in our surface transportation infrastructure, without any additional action by Congress.  I commend Chairman Shuster, who Chaired the Conference, and my colleagues in both the House and Senate who helped craft this important legislation. I look forward to this bill being signed into law.”

Under the FAST Act, over the next five years Oregon will receive over $2.6 billion in federal highway funding to rebuild and replace our crumbling highways, and over $500 million in federal transit funding to fix and expand our transit systems. In 2005, DeFazio negotiated a change in the highway funding formula and as a result, Oregon now receives more in gas tax dollars than it contributes to the Federal Highway Trust Fund.  Under the prior formula, Oregon received 99 cents for every $1 contributed.  Under the formula DeFazio secured, Oregon will receive $1.25 for every $1 contributed. Oregon will receive an additional $325 million in the FAST Act because of the DeFazio-Oregon formula fix.

The FAST Act is a five-year, fully paid-for surface transportation reauthorization of federal highway, transit, highway safety, motor carrier safety, hazardous materials, and passenger rail programs.  The bill provides long-term certainty for states and local governments, strengthens Buy America provisions that create jobs and boost American manufacturing, and increases funding for freight projects, public transit, Amtrak and transportation alternatives.

To watch DeFazio speak about the long-term highways bill, click here.

To read a FAST Act Oregon Fact Sheet, click here.