WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, of which he is a member, passed a bipartisan bill to authorize renewal of the Highway Trust Fund and increased transportation funding over the next six years:
“There is no better way to create good jobs now and build a stronger economy for the future than to invest in our infrastructure. With the Highway Trust Fund at risk of becoming insolvent later this summer — in the middle of construction season — I’m pleased that the EPW Committee has passed a bill to make sure that vital transportation infrastructure projects continue and workers stay on the job. Moreover, after years of underinvestment in our crumbling roads and bridges, this bill takes a badly-needed step forward not only by extending transportation funding, but by authorizing an increased level of investment.
“I’m concerned, however, that while overall investment is increased, funding for pedestrian and bike projects is nowhere near where it should be. Connecting our infrastructure with safe pedestrian and bike access is key for investing in healthy, economically-vibrant communities in Oregon and across the nation. I’ll keep working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make sure we invest in all types of transportation.”
The transportation package is expected to be debated on the floor of the Senate in July. In addition to the legislation passed by the EPW Committee today, it will require a funding mechanism to be considered by the Senate Finance Committee.