Senate Committee Approves Bill to Fund RI Transportation Infrastructure
Sen. Whitehouse Worked to Ensure RI Maintained Adequate Funding
Washington, DC – The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works today approved legislation re-authorizing federal transportation funding for the next two years. U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Committee, supported the re-authorization, which prevents the harmful cuts in transportation funding proposed by House Republicans.
“In Rhode Island and across the country, the infrastructure that helped build our great economy is crumbling,” said Whitehouse. “We badly need to invest in repairing our infrastructure to keep our economy running efficiently, keep our highways and bridges safe, and generate much-needed jobs. Maintaining current funding levels for the next two years is a step in the right direction.”
The House of Representatives passed a budget that would cut transportation funding levels by 36%, leading to a loss of 3,500 jobs in Rhode Island alone. The legislation approved today will preserve these jobs by maintaining current funding levels, plus inflation. The legislation also authorizes $1 billion for a grant program for “Projects of National and Regional Significance,” which could aid in the repair of the I-95 Viaduct in Providence. Whitehouse will work to ensure that this program is adequately funded as the bill moves to the floor.
Whitehouse has been a strong advocate for investments in transportation infrastructure. He has long supported efforts to create an “infrastructure bank” to establish a long-term funding pool for critical projects, and recently cosponsored the Rebuild America Jobs Act – legislation modeled after the infrastructure provisions in President Obama’s American Jobs Act. Last week, Whitehouse joined the President at an event to support that bill.
According to a report by Transportation 4 America, nearly 68 percent of Rhode Island roads are rated in poor or mediocre condition, and 1 in 5 bridges in the state are structurally deficient – the fourth highest of any state.
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