House of Representatives Passes Six Year Highway Bill; Legislation Includes Rep. Zeldin's Safe Bridges Act
Washington, DC – Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, C, Shirley- NY 1), member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, announced today that bipartisan legislation he introduced in Congress, the Safe Bridges Act (H.R. 3168) to strengthen New York’s infrastructure, which was added to the House Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act under section 1105 (i) of the bill, passed the House of Representatives by an overwhelming majority vote of 363-64. Passage of the House Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act, a six year bill, comes after ten years of short term extensions.
The New York State Department of Transportation reports that more than one-third of New York State’s 17,000 bridges are in need of repair. Furthermore, of the 17,000 bridges in New York, the majority were built in the 20th century, with over 50% of bridges over 75 years old.
Under a 2012 federal law, MAP-21, states, counties, towns and villages were cut off from critical funding to repair and maintain bridges. According to the New York State Department of Transportation, New York received $271 million in federal funding for the Highway Bridge program in 2011. Due to changes in MAP-21, New York State received $0 in Highway Bridge program funding in 2014.
Congressman Zeldin said, “After ten years of short term extensions, I am proud to announce that the House has passed the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act, which provides long-term funding for our transportation and infrastructure. This highway bill is critical for long term planning of projects months and years into the future. I am especially proud to announce that my bipartisan bill to reform federal highway law and secure funding for our local bridges was included in this highway bill. The Safe Bridges Act provides counties and municipalities on Long Island with access to critical federal funds to repair and maintain our local bridges and infrastructure, ensuring over 80 bridges or overpasses across the First Congressional District are once again eligible for much needed funding. In Congress, I have been a vocal supporter of increasing state flexibility and local control, to allow funds to flow more efficiently to the right projects, strengthening our infrastructure and improving transportation safety, job creation, and our overall economy and quality of life. As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, one of my top priorities in Congress is, and always will be, to address New York’s transportation and infrastructure needs.”
Congressman Zeldin introduced the Safe Bridges Act with Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY-18) on July 22, 2015. Since the bill’s introduction, Congressman Zeldin has been advocating for a vote on this critical piece of legislation, recently joining with local elected officials, organizations, and members of the community to bring awareness to his bill and urge a vote in Congress. The United States Senate also passed their own bipartisan surface transportation bill this summer, so now both the House and Senate will go to conference to resolve any remaining differences in the two versions and send a final package to the President.