WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (HUD) and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, applauded Committee passage of the FY 2017 Transportation & HUD Appropriations bill. Murphy fought to secure nearly $1.5 billion for Amtrak safety and improvement, including $345 million specifically for the Northeast Corridor.
The bill also includes Murphy’s Buy American provision that will require the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector General to audit Buy American practices within the FAA and support manufactures in Connecticut and across the United States. Murphy was motivated to include the language after the U.S. Department of Defense Inspector General reported an unacceptably high amount of Air Force and Navy procurement contracts violated “Buy American” laws. Audits in FAA and other agencies will determine whether this high rate of non-compliance extends beyond the Department of Defense.
“Transportation funding is the coin of the realm when it comes to economic growth in Connecticut. I’m using my seat on the Appropriations Committee to increase funding for Connecticut’s transportation system because our economy hinges on our ability to safely move people and cargo to the big metro centers of New York City and Boston,” said Murphy. “We still have a lot to do to improve our rail lines, but with $345 million specifically carved out for the Northeast Corridor coupled with the ability of the Northeast Corridor to reinvest its own profits for the first time ever, we are finally making progress.”
Murphy added, “I’m also thrilled that the Senate is finally waking up to the importance of Buy American laws by including my Buy American provision today, taking a real step to shine a light on government agencies skirting the law. I’ve listened to manufacturers across Connecticut, and they tell me they are losing U.S. government work to overseas competitors. Buy American laws exist for a reason, and as long as I’m in the Senate, I will continue working hard to ensure that taxpayer money isn’t inappropriately sent to foreign competitors of American companies.”
Highlights of the THUD bill relating to Amtrak include:
Amtrak was funded at $1.42 billion, $30 million more than the FY16 Omnibus
- $345 million for a newly-created Northeast Corridor account
- $1.075 billion for Amtrak’s National Network
- $20 million for Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Grants to help Northeast Corridor states tackle the state of good repair backlog from Boston to Washington, DC
- For the first time, the Northeast Corridor—the only profitable Amtrak line in the country—can reinvest its profits to make critical capital investments and safety improvements