Kuster Statement on Vote in Favor of Highway and Transit Reauthorization


Date: Nov. 5, 2015
Location: Washington, DC

Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) voted in favor of H.R. 3763, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015, which will extend federal highway and transit programs for the next six years. Following this morning's approval of the measure, the House and the Senate have until November 20 to finalize and approve federal infrastructure funding before the current reauthorization expires.

"For New Hampshire to continue to succeed in the 21st century, we need to have long-term security when it comes to federal transportation funding," said Congresswoman Kuster. "I joined with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this bill, which will ensure that we protect public safety through the revitalization of our roads and bridges, as well as provide certainty that our valued construction workers are supported by these vital projects. However, I recognize that this bill is far from perfect. I believe that the legislation could do more to expand funding for highway and infrastructure projects. In particular, the bill dramatically cuts overall funding for the TIFIA loan program, which is critically important to improving our transportation network in the Granite State.

I am also frustrated that this bill only provides funding for three of the six years authorized by the legislation. I am a strong supporter of legislation that would fund transportation through repatriation of overseas corporate earnings and regret that this proposal was not allowed to be considered as an amendment. I now call on my colleagues in the Senate and House to work together to draft a compromise bill that grows our investment in transportation and strengthens our economic competitiveness, so that our workers and the projects that our nation relies on can continue to strengthen the country's transportation networks."

The Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 would provide $325 billion for the revitalization of highways, transit, and safety programs across the country to be used over the next six years. The final measures to ensure funding throughout the bill's final three years are expected to be settled in conference with the Senate between now and November 20, when current authorization will expire. Over the last decade, Congress has passed numerous short-term extensions of highway and transit programs, leading to uncertainty for local transportation departments and impeding economic growth around the nation.

Congresswoman Kuster has continuously advocated for increased federal investment in New Hampshire's transportation infrastructure since taking office. Last year when short-term funding threatened to run out, Kuster introduced the DRIVE Now Act, legislation that would have replenished the Highway Trust fund through the summer construction season to allow Congress time to pass a full, six-year reauthorization of the Highway Trust Fund and other Surface Reauthorization programs.

Kuster is also a strong supporter of the Infrastructure 2.0 Act (H.R. 625), which would fund federal highway programs through the repatriation of overseas corporate earnings. Additionally, the bill would use this same funding source to create a national infrastructure bank to finance state and local infrastructure projects and reform federal taxation of overseas corporate earnings to prevent companies from exploiting foreign tax havens. This legislation was offered as an amendment to H.R. 3763 but was not allowed to receive a vote.

This past summer, Kuster sent a letter to House leadership and called on her colleagues in the Senate to support a long-term surface transportation bill that would provide certainty for infrastructure projects in New Hampshire and across the country.

Kuster has also hosted a number of events to highlight the importance of transportation infrastructure.

Earlier this fall, Kuster hosted a passenger rail summit that attracted experts from across New England to share updates on ongoing projects as well as best practices. She has also toured the I-93 construction project in Windham and the Route 10 bridge replacement project in Winchester, two projects that could have been threatened by lack of transportation funding, to underscore the need to pass responsible, long-term funding legislation.