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U.S. House Passes Federal Transportation Bill That Boosts Help for Southwest Washington Buses and Columbia River Gorge Bridges

Jaime Herrera Beutler successfully secures two amendments to help Southwest Washington in six-year transportation legislation

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Washington, DC, November 5, 2015 | comments
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a six-year, bipartisan transportation bill that provides a significant boost for funds available to Southwest Washington buses and bridges that span the Columbia River Gorge.
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Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a six-year, bipartisan transportation bill that provides a significant boost for funds available to Southwest Washington buses and bridges that span the Columbia River Gorge.  Jaime successfully fought for two amendments that increased competitive grant programs for which Southwest Washington transit agencies like C-Tran, and local port authorities that own the Bridge of the Gods and the Hood River Bridge can compete.

This legislation does not include a cent in gas tax increases, but does streamline inefficiencies, prioritize safety and provide certainty for cities and states to plan much needed transportation projects.

“Southwest Washington residents and businesses deserve reliable public transportation, and bridges that allow them to safely and efficiently move people and goods.  I’m pleased to have helped shape a six year transportation bill that puts hard-earned tax dollars toward these important priorities,” said Jaime.  “By ending a $272 million earmark for Northeast states and working with colleagues across the aisle and across the Columbia River, I was able to help make important changes to this bill that will improve transportation in our region.”

Jaime Herrera Beutler-Sponsored Bus Funding Amendment:

“Thanks to Congresswoman Herrera Beutler’s leadership in introducing and helping pass this amendment to the STRRA Act, C-TRAN will be able to compete for more federal dollars to replace an aging bus fleet and continue to provide safe, reliable and efficient public transit in Clark County and the Portland Metro region.” – Jeff Hamm, Executive Director/CEO of C-TRAN

Jaime Herrera Beutler successfully amended the U.S. House’s federal transportation and infrastructure bill to make an average of $272 million in additional funding available annually to improve services to bus riders in Clark County and throughout Southwest Washington.

Jaime’s bipartisan amendment, also sponsored by Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and Mike Turner (R-OH), would eliminate a special carve out fund that benefits only seven Northeast states and add those dollars to the nationwide Competitive Bus Grant program for which all 50 states can compete. 

Prior to Jaime’s amendment, the U.S. House transportation bill provided the nationwide Competitive Bus Grant program with $90 million in 2016 and $200 million each year after – while carving out an average of $272 million a year for the separate fund dedicated to only those seven Northeast states. Read more about the amendment and watch Jaime’s floor speech here.

Jaime Herrera Beutler-Sponsored Bridges in National Scenic Areas Amendment:

The bill also included a bipartisan amendment successfully offered and secured by Jaime and Reps. Greg Walden (R-OR) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) to help improve roads and bridges in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

The proposal ensures that projects within national scenic areas (NSA's), including the Columbia River Gorge NSA, are eligible for federal transportation grants to help them serve the needs of their local economies, residents, and visitors. Read more about this amendment here.

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