WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, applauded Senate passage of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, a 5-year $305 billion transportation bill – the first long-term highway bill in a decade. It preserves critical funding sources for Connecticut, revives the expired Export-Import Bank, and strengthens Buy American provisions.
“I’ve heard from hundreds of Connecticut residents that they’re fed up with their commute and the state of our transportation system. They’re fed up with missing dinners with their families and their kids’ sports games. They’re fed up with talk but no real progress,” said Murphy. “This bill isn't perfect, but it will significantly increase transportation funding for Connecticut, and give our state Department of Transportation certainty about funding levels for five years."
“I voted against previous versions of this bill, but because the final bill is a big improvement of prior versions, I supported it. This bill includes the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which is critical for job growth in Connecticut, and it doesn't blow a hole in our federal budget by spending more than it takes in. It also strengthens requirements to buy material for transportation projects from American companies, and that's great news for Connecticut companies.”
Murphy launched the ‘Fed Up’ campaign to hear directly from Connecticut residents about their commutes and learn how he can help improve them. As part of his listening campaign, Murphy also launched an online survey to hear from Metro-North passengers about their experiences along the Waterbury Branch Rail Line.
The FAST Act authorizes an increase in funding for improvements on America’s roads and transit systems by 5 percent in 2016, and by more than 15 percent in 2020. It also authorizes up to $1.6 billion in critical funding along the Northeast Corridor – the most heavily traveled part of the country with some of the oldest infrastructure and greatest need. The FAST Act also renews the U.S Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, an independent federal agency that creates and maintains U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing, but expired on July 1, 2015. The Ex-Im Bank is a vital lifeline to Connecticut manufacturers. Since 2007, the Ex-Im Bank has supplied the Connecticut’s Aerospace Corridor with more than $1.1 billion in insurance, credit, and loans, directly supporting twenty-seven Connecticut aviation and aerospace manufacturing exporters, hundreds of Connecticut suppliers, and nearly 30,000 Connecticut residents employed in the aerospace sector.
Last month, Murphy and U.S. Representative Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) called on the bipartisan leaders of the Conference Committee to strengthen and protect Buy America provisions in the long-term surface transportation bill, noting that transportation investment should not only improve our nation’s infrastructure, but also create jobs. In response to Murphy’s and Lipinski’s request, two provisions that would enhance Buy American provisions were ultimately included in the FAST Act, and a provision that would weaken Buy America provisions by increasing Amtrak’s threshold for Buy America applicability was not included in the FAST Act.