Measure would modernize decaying transportation system, create thousands of jobs in Delaware and nationwide
Mar 14 2012
WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) voted to pass the Surface Transportation bill. The bill passed with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 74 to 22. It now goes to the House for consideration. Sen. Carper's statement follows:
"Today my colleagues and I came together to pass critical, bipartisan legislation to renew and improve our nation's transportation infrastructure. John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems, Inc., has said that a world class infrastructure and a world class workforce are the keys to global success in the 21st century. When it comes to infrastructure, this bill takes us in the right direction.
"A modern transportation system that is efficient and safe is essential for America's economic competitiveness. By investing in our nation's roads, railways, highways, and bridges, this legislation will also put American men and women back to work. While this transportation bill isn't perfect, it acknowledges that, if we're smart, we can make transportation investments in a way that not only boosts commerce and cuts congestion, but also cuts our dependence on foreign sources of oil, curbs money lost to high gas prices, and reduces harmful air pollution.
"I have long maintained that if something is worth having, it's worth paying for. I believe it is worth it to America to invest in a reliable and modern transportation system. To that end, if we want to pass another transportation bill when this legislation expires in two years, Congress must address flaws in the Highway Trust Fund that are standing in the way of a longer-term investment. I hope that we in Congress can begin an honest and important conversation about our nation's long term transportation needs, and how we can pay for them in a fiscally responsible way.
"That being said, passing this bill in the Senate today is an important step in maintaining and expanding our nation's transportation system, and I am hopeful that our House colleagues will join us in approving this bill for the President's signature."
Summary of Sen. Carper's amendments to the transportation bill:
Clean Construction Funding
- These provisions are based on Sen. Carper's Clean Construction Act of 2011 (S. 972).
- They will help to reduce pollution from diesel vehicles and equipment operating on highway construction sites that negatively impact public health and air quality.
- The measure allows highway construction equipment working in areas with poor air quality to use federal funds to install modern pollution controls.
- Nationwide, there are over 2 million pieces of construction equipment in use - most lack modern particulate pollution controls.
- Over 37 percent of land-based particulate matter comes from construction equipment, according to the U.S. EPA.
- Over 88 million Americans breathe air that doesn't meet federal standards for particulate matter (a main component of diesel pollution).
- Particulate filters combined with ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel can eliminate over 90 percent of particulate matter from diesel exhaust.
Electric and Alternative Fuel Vehicle Infrastructure (Amendment #1666)
- This provision will promote the use of cleaner cars and trucks, like plug-in or alternative-fuel vehicles.
- Projects to construct alternative fueling and electric charging infrastructure will now be eligible for direct funding under the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program.
Clean Air in Transportation Planning (Amendment #1665)
- This provision will ensure a state with an area of poor air quality includes targets for reducing air pollution in its statewide transportation plan.
- These states would be required to coordinate with cities in poor air quality areas in developing these targets.