Rep. Zeldin’s Safe Bridges Act Included in Final Highway Bill. Huge Win for Long Islanders.
Washington, DC – Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, C – NY-1), member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, announced today that the United States House and Senate have agreed to a $305 billion, fully funded, five-year highway bill, following ten years of short term extensions. Congressman Zeldin also announced that the Safe Bridges Act (H.R. 3168), bipartisan legislation he introduced in Congress to strengthen New York’s infrastructure, has been included in the final highway bill.
Congressman Zeldin said, “After ten years of short term extensions, the House and Senate will be passing a long-term highway bill that will provide critical funding for our transportation and infrastructure. The uncertainty which had come with ten years of short term patches, highlighted the need for a long term policy to provide the ability to pursue the vision of long term planning. This bipartisan package is a fully paid for, five-year bill that provides much needed transportation funding; and corrects the ongoing issue of sending a disproportionately greater amount of our tax dollars to Washington, DC, than is received in return on Long Island. This package also increases flexibility for states and municipal governments, and greatly expands local control over highway and transit programs. For New York, that means nearly $9 billion in federal highway dollars over the life of the bill—a ten percent increase from current levels.”
Congressman Zeldin continued, “Within the legislation, I am proud to have secured my bipartisan proposal to reform federal highway law to drive funding to our region for local bridges on Long Island. The Safe Bridges Act will provide counties and municipalities on Long Island with access to critical federal funds to repair and maintain local bridges and infrastructure. Under the Safe Bridges Act, over 80 bridges or overpasses across the First Congressional District will once again be eligible for much needed funding.”
Under MAP-21, a 2012 federal law, states, counties, towns and villages were cut off from the funding needed 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 the changes under MAP-21, New York State received $0 in Highway Bridge program funding in 2014. Congressman Zeldin’s Safe Bridges Act would reform federal highway law, ensuring our critical overpasses and bridges once again have access to this funding.
“From improving transportation safety, to creating local jobs, and boosting our overall economy and quality of life, this highway bill is a huge legislative win for Long Island and I look forward to voting for its final passage,” Congressman Zeldin concluded.
Congressman Zeldin introduced the Safe Bridges Act with Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY-18) on July 22, 2015. The Safe Bridges Act, which was included in the House highway bill, passed the House of Representatives by a bipartisan majority vote of 363-64. The final package of the highway bill will be voted on by both chambers as early as tomorrow. Following the expected passage by both the House and Senate, the highway bill will be sent to the President to be signed into law.