SCHUMER SECURES, FOLLOWING YEARS OF WORK, MAJOR VICTORIES FOR NEW YORK IN 5-YEAR TRANSPORTATION BILL, WHICH IS SET TO BE PASSED THIS WEEK
FAST (Fixing Americas Surface Transportation) Act Will Provide Over $16 Billion in Direct Infrastructure Funding To NY State Over The Next 5 Years – Upstate NY Will Benefit Greatly From 16.5% Increase From Previous Years
Schumer Fought For Provisions That Would Keep Rental Cars Under Recall Off The Roads, Increase Funds For Local Bridge Repairs, Provide Funds For Replacing Aging Bus Fleets, Create a New Freight Grant Program, And More
Schumer: Victories For Upstate NY Right On Track
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced, following years of work, major victories that will greatly help Upstate New York have been included in the 5-year federal transportation bill, the FAST (Fixing Americas Surface Transportation) Act that is set to be passed in Congress this week. Schumer said these victories – in addition to the restoration of 5340 High Density Funding – will help improve Upstate NY’s transit systems and overall infrastructure. The bill provides a total of over $16.3 billion in direct infrastructure spending to NY State over the next 5 years, $1.5 billion more than New York would receive in a flat-funded bill. That amounts to an average annual increase of over $300 million above current spending levels. In addition to this funding increase, under the FAST Act, NY State will also see an increase in its relative share of transportation spending compared to other states.
“As a conferee on this major transportation bill, I was proud to not only fight to restore funding for critical programs the House was looking to slash, but also increase funding for programs that will help New York across the board. This bill will help us create grant programs for replacing aging bus fleets, increase funding for local bridge repairs, help keep unsafe rental cars off the roads, and much more,” said Schumer. “This deal will ensure our local transit agencies can continue as lifelines for Upstate NY and help us repair our bridges in a time where New York’s infrastructure is crumbling and desperately in need of an upgrade.”
In addition to these funding increases, the bill will also include the following victories for NY State:
The FAST Act will include Senator Schumer’s Safe Rental Car Bill
Since 2010, Schumer has been working to ensure car rental companies fix cars recalled because of safety defects before renting or selling to consumers. The bill would, for the first time, hold rental companies to the same standard as auto dealers, who are prohibited from selling a new car under recall unless the defect has been remedied. Senator Schumer pushed for the inclusion of this provision in the Senate passed DRIVE Act earlier this year and was able to ensure that the legislation was also included in the overall transportation bill that will be passed later this week.
The FAST Act will also include a provision that makes off-system bridges eligible for federal funding
Schumer has been working since 2014 to increase federal funding for local bridge repair projects. The 7,464 local bridges across the state that are not on the federal-aid system (“off-system bridges”) have relied on 2009 funding levels to access federal dollars for maintaining and improving bridges. There are currently 2,268 off-system bridges in Upstate New York that are considered either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The FAST Act will ensure off-system bridges are now eligible to receive National Highway Performance Program (NHPP) funds, in order to increase the amount they can apply for and receive for bridge repairs. These additional dollars, combined with additional local input into how federal highway dollars get spent, will finally provide a path forward for local communities to begin repairing their aging bridges.
The FAST Act will include a brand new discretionary bus program
This transportation bill will create a new discretionary fund that municipalities can apply to, allowing them to access funds for replacing aging bus fleets. This program will be funded at an average of $300 million per year, each year for the next 5 years. Schumer made helping push for this program a priority, following countless meetings with New York State transportation leaders who had urgent bus funding needs. Schumer called this a win for upstate transit systems that have been struggling to shoulder the cost of replace aging fleets in recent years. Schumer’s efforts to help create this new bus program, combined with the successful restoration of critical 5340 funding, will be a major lift to transit agencies across New York State.
The FAST Act will also include the creation of a $4.5 billion Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects Program.
This program will be funded at $850 million per year in the first year and then increase to $1 billion by the final year of the five year bill. Under this new program, major projects throughout New York State will be able to compete for funding to address important transportation priorities. This program, which will be a discretionary grant program similar to the TIGER grant program, will help projects that are too big to get off the ground due to a lack of traditional funding take shape. Furthermore, this new program has a large rural set-aside that will help ensure projects in all regions of the state are able to compete for dollars.
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