Lowey, Obama Highlight New Tappan Zee Bridge and Importance of Transportation Investments Nationwide
TIFIA loan for new bridge project is a direct result of Lowey’s work with the President, Congress, and Transportation Secretary
TARRYTOWN, NY – Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland), Ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, today welcomed President Barack Obama to the site of the new Tappan Zee Bridge and joined him in supporting increased investments in transportation infrastructure to bolster the nation’s economy.
“The investments in the new Tappan Zee Bridge mean less waiting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, more time spent with our families, and local economic growth” said Lowey. “The historic TIFIA loan I helped secure to support this new bridge will enable job creation and support our local economy. The new Tappan Zee is a symbol of what is possible not just for the Hudson Valley but for the United States. Through smart investments in infrastructure, we can rebuild not only this nation’s roads and bridges but also American prosperity through job creation, increased safety for our communities, and a better quality of life.”
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the United States needs $3.6 trillion in infrastructure investments by 2020. Lowey is a champion for a variety of measures to meet these demands, which would create jobs and keep our communities safe:
· Public-private partnerships can dramatically increase investments in job-creating infrastructure initiatives. That’s why Lowey supports the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program, which has provided $1.6 billion in U.S. Department of Transportation loans to help finance construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge. Lowey has consistently supported robust TIFIA investments to help leverage private investments in more infrastructure projects, and approval of the Tappan Zee’s TIFIA proposal was a result of her strong urging to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and his predecessor Ray LaHood.
· In addition to the TIFIA loan, Lowey also supports Governor Cuomo’s $26.7 million application for direct assistance from the Federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, Discretionary Grant program to invest in a better bus system for the Tappan Zee Bridge, which would further decrease congestion, increase ridership, and reduce commute times.
Since its inception, Lowey has been a vocal advocate for creating jobs by increasing investments in TIGER, which provides direct assistance for major infrastructure projects like the Tappan Zee Bridge. Republicans in Congress have consistently underfunded this initiative, including in the transportation appropriations bill passed in subcommittee just last week, in which the TIGER program was cut from $600 million in fiscal year 2014 to only $100 million for FY 2015.
· Lowey supports the President’s Generating Renewal, Opportunity, and Work with Accelerated Mobility, Efficiency, and Rebuilding of Infrastructure and Communities throughout America Act, or GROW AMERICA Act, a multi-year surface transportation bill to provide increased and stable funding for our nation’s highways, bridges, transit, and rail systems by closing tax loopholes.
It would keep solvent The Highway Trust Fund, which is expected to run out of funding in the coming months, and would stall 112,000 active transit and transportation projects and put 700,000 jobs at risk. Lowey believes Congress must come together to develop a responsible, bipartisan plan to keep solvent the Trust Fund, which supports TIFIA loans, like the Tappan Zee received, among other initiatives to sustain our nation’s infrastructure.
The GROW America Act would also streamline and expedite permitting to more quickly launch projects, create jobs, and improve our transportation system for citizens and businesses who depend on it.
“Shortchanging investments in infrastructure upgrades shortchanges our economy and the many men and women who need work. I will fight in Congress to increase our investments in major construction for our roads and bridges to help continue the economic recovery,” Lowey added. “I’m proud to have supported Governor Cuomo’s vision and leadership to make the new bridge a reality and to work with the President and his Administration to help bring federal funding to the Hudson River Valley. Congress must pass sensible measures to ensure we have a 21st Century transportation infrastructure that supports a 21st Century economy.”