Washington DC- Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley today joined his colleagues in the Environment and Public Works Committee in unanimously approving bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the nation’s transportation programs for two years.
“Finally, a major jobs bill with bipartisan support is making forward progress in the U.S. Senate,” Merkley said. “This bill is very important – it funds the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges, core investments in our transportation infrastructure. It is a vast improvement over the House’s earlier proposal, which would have cut 33 percent of our investment in roads and bridges, destroying 7,000 living-wage jobs for Oregonians. While I have concerns about changes to bike and pedestrian programs in this bill, I will continue to work to improve these provisions on the floor of the Senate. Passing this bill out of committee in a unanimous fashion is a major step forward.”
The legislation maintains transportation funding at current levels and reforms the nation’s transportation programs to make them more efficient. Senator Merkley successfully pushed for the inclusion of the Projects of National or Regional Significance program, which authorizes funding for high-value projects that are essential to our country’s economy. The bill also contains Merkley’s Electric Vehicle Charge and Ride Act, which would allow states to install electric vehicle charging stations at new or existing park-and-ride facilities.