WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) passed the America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act that includes U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin’s bipartisan reforms to rebuild America’s infrastructure and improve transportation access for workers and families.
“I worked to secure critical measures in this legislation that will help local communities invest in innovative, efficient transportation systems and empower states to rebuild stronger roads and bridges that can withstand the next storm or natural disaster,” said Senator Baldwin. “We need stronger, smarter transportation infrastructure in Wisconsin and across the country. I’m looking forward to the Senate supporting my reforms so we can connect workers and families to jobs and keep our Made in Wisconsin economy moving forward.”
The America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act includes provisions from two bipartisan bills authored by Senator Baldwin.
The Rebuilding Stronger Infrastructure Act
Senators Baldwin, Mike Braun (R-IN) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced the Rebuilding Stronger Infrastructure Act to help states rebuild stronger roads, highways and bridges as they recover from natural disasters, such as a severe storm, flood or hurricane.
The Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program provides federal funding to states to rebuild roads and bridges damaged by storms, floods and other disasters. Incorporating resiliency improvements into emergency relief projects has become increasingly important, particularly as states and communities sustain years of repeated damage and are forced to rebuild with limited funds. Yet too often, highway infrastructure is rebuilt to pre-disaster specifications, leaving roads and bridges vulnerable to another disaster. Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General found that states may not be improving the resilience of transportation infrastructure to the extent possible. Baldwin’s reform requires the Federal Highway Administration to provide states with the guidance and tools needed to rebuild infrastructure that is more resilient to the next severe weather event.
In addition to Senator Baldwin’s reform, the bill establishes new formula and competitive grant funding to support transportation projects that improve the resiliency of roads and bridges to natural disasters and extreme weather events. Senator Baldwin wrote to EPW leadership encouraging the committee to prioritize climate and resilience provisions in surface transportation reauthorization. These long-term investments are needed to ensure our nation’s surface transportation infrastructure is more resilient to the many threats posed by climate change. A copy of the letter to EPW is available here.
The Connecting Opportunities through Mobility Metrics and Unlocking Transportation Efficiencies (COMMUTE) Act
Baldwin introduced the COMMUTE Act with Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) to improve transportation access and help break down barriers for workers and families getting to jobs, local businesses and health care services. This bipartisan reform provides data to states and local governments to measure accessibility to local businesses and important destinations, and inform investments in transportation systems. The bill is supported by Transportation For America, the Coalition for Smarter Transportation and the League of American Bicyclists.
As a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Senator Baldwin looks forward to continuing to advance reforms that invest in infrastructure for the 21st century as Congress reauthorizes surface transportation legislation.
An online version of this release is available here.