HOUSE PASSES LONG-TERM, FULLY FUNDED HIGHWAY BILL WITH KATKO SUPPORT

December 3, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – After thirty seven short-term extensions, the U.S. House of Representatives, with the support of Rep. John Katko (NY-24), today passed the bipartisan conference report for H.R. 22, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.   This bill represents the first long-term highway bill in over a decade, and will assist in the improvement of surface transportation infrastructure –including roads, bridges, transit systems and rail transportation networks – in Central New York and across the country.

U.S. Rep. John Katko, who helped to negotiate the final bill as a member of the House and Senate Conference Committee said, “Today’s legislation includes significant wins for Central New York, including the designation of Interstate 81 as a high priority corridor, continued funding for Centro, and the overall stability that our community needs to plan for long term investment in our infrastructure.”

At Representative Katko’s request, the bill designates I-81 through Central New York as a ‘High Priority Corridor.’  This signifies  recognition of the importance of I-81 to Central New York as well as its importance to the national economy.   Additionally, Representative Katko worked in a bipartisan manner, together with Senator Schumer and other members of the New York delegation, to ensure that Centro continues to receive sufficient funding.

Significantly, Representative Katko advocated for the following items to be included in the bill for the benefit of Central New York:

Creation of a National Surface Transportation and Innovative Finance Bureau which will aid state and local governments in securing financing for projects, navigating the regulatory process, and the creation of public-private partnerships to aid in financing.  This will make project delivery easier and more navigable for state and local governments, which has been a priority for Rep. Katko.

Protects current funding formulas to ensure that states like New York don’t lose out on funding due to new means of allocating money.

Provides states new flexibility in the use of funds for bridges that aren’t a part of the National Highway System, which is the case for the vast majority of bridges in NY-24.  This will make it easier for states to fix bridges in need of repair that may not have received funding before.

Continues and increases grant programs for bus programs and facilities, of benefit to agencies like Centro.

Establishes a National Highway Freight Program, and a National Multimodal Freight Program to provide ways of breaking up freight bottlenecks around the country, and focus resources improving the nation’s freight infrastructure.  All interstates, including I-81, are part of the National Highway Freight Program under the bill.  Rep. Katko asked the Committee to consider the importance of multimodal programs to improve connectivity and the movement of goods and traffic.
 
Representative Katko will join tomorrow in Syracuse with local elected officials from Onondaga, Cayuga, Wayne, and Oswego Counties as well as local business, transportation, and labor organizations, for a press conference to the discuss passage of this long-term, multi-year highway bill.  Details will be forthcoming to local media.

Congressman John Katko represents the 24th Congressional District of New York, which includes Onondaga, Cayuga, Wayne, and a portion of Oswego County.  For more information, visit Katko.house.gov or Facebook.com/RepJohnKatko.