May 26, 2015

Sen. Whitehouse: Short-Term Highway Bill Another Missed Opportunity

Washington, DC – With federal highway funding set to expire at the end of this month, the U.S. Senate approved by voice vote a two-month extension to avoid a funding shutdown.  U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who has been calling for a long-term bill to provide greater funding certainty and support jobs, released the statement below on the two-month bill:

“Rhode Island needs a long-term highway bill to create jobs, grow our economy, and make our roads and bridges safer.  Unfortunately, Congressional Republicans have once again delayed action, missing out on an opportunity to make a real investment in our nation’s infrastructure.  I supported this short-term measure to avoid a catastrophic funding shutdown during the busy summer construction months, but I’m disappointed that the bill fails to provide the certainty states need to plan for big, multi-year, job-creating projects.  I remain ready to work with my colleagues in the Environment and Public Works Committee to put together a serious proposal like the bipartisan, six-year highway bill we approved last year, and urge my Republican colleagues to make a long-term bill a priority over the next two months.”

According to a report compiled last year by the White House, Rhode Island had the highest percentage of deficient or obsolete bridges in America and was tied for the highest percentage of roads in poor condition.  The Rhode Island Department of Transportation has indicated that it needs a long-term funding bill to provide fiscal certainty to take on big projects like replacing the aging 6-10 connector in Providence.

Whitehouse is a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, which has jurisdiction over legislation to authorize highway funding.


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