Katko Tapped for Committee to Advance Bill with Senate
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. John Katko (NY-24) announced that the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan, six year highway bill that will provide state and local governments with funding and planning certainty. Representative Katko was selected by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to serve on the House and Senate conference committee, which will work to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.
The fully offset bill authorizes $325 billion in federal funding to improve and modernize our nation’s aging infrastructure.
“Our state and local governments need predictability as we move forward to plan for local projects like the I-81 rebuild,” said U.S. Rep. John Katko. “After 35 short-term extensions to federal highway programs, this fiscally-responsible bill provides Central New York with the stability and flexibility that we need to make long-term investments in our infrastructure.”
Katko, who sits on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, has repeatedly advocated for a long-term highway bill to fully provide for the needs of Central New York. Earlier this week, he spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in support of this legislation. His remarks can be found here.
Katko, one of sixteen Members of the House appointed to the House and Senate conference continued, “I look forward to representing the interests of Central New York as we work together with our colleagues in the Senate to produce a long-term, sustainable bill to send to the President’s desk.”
MACNY and Manufacturers Alliance of New York State President Randy Wolken stated, “MACNY and the Alliance have long maintained that in order for the manufacturing sector to thrive, Government needs to support infrastructure investments that will enable us to remain successful in serving global markets. Today’s passage of the Highway bill under the leadership of Congressman Katko and his colleagues does just that. Infrastructure investments will assist in the transportation of US goods and products, allowing the manufacturers to be truly competitive. On behalf of the statewide manufacturing community, I thank Congressman Katko for his leadership on this critical issue despite the challenges. We look forward to continuing to work with him on creating a better business climate for New York State manufacturers and businesses.”
“CenterState CEO commends the House of Representatives for passing the first, long-term, and fully funded highway bill since 2009,” said CenterState CEO President & Chief Executive Officer Rob Simpson. “This bill offers a measure of certainty and predictability that Central New York needs to plan its transportation infrastructure for the future. As the House and Senate move into conference to work out their differences on this legislation, we’re glad Representative Katko will be at the table to ensure that Central New York’s voice is heard, including the need to protect vital transit funding for our communities.”
When the bill passed out of the Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, Rep. Katko ensured that it designated I-81 through Central New York as a ‘High Priority Corridor.’ This designation signifies the Committee’s recognition of the importance of I-81 to our region as well as to the national economy.
Representative Katko also advocated for the following items included in the bill, which will be of benefit to CNY:
- 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 highway 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 grant programs for bus programs and facilities, which may be 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.
- Requires a new federal rulemaking to protect bus operators from assault.
A separate Katko amendment was also included in the bill to ensure that the Federal Highway Administration finalizes regulations to protect the lives and safety of construction workers and motorists in highway work zones.
Congressman John Katko represents the 24th Congressional District, which includes all of Onondaga, Cayuga, and Wayne Counties and a portion of Oswego County. For more information, please visit https://katko.house.gov or www.facebook.com/RepJohnKatko.