Today Congressman David Wu announced new legislation, the Promoting Green Transportation Infrastructure through Research and Development Act (H.R. 2317), to improve the efficiency and sustainability of our nation's roads, freeways, and urban traffic grid.
"More than ever before, people today are reeling from the headache of everyday travel," said Wu. "Record gas prices, traffic congestion, and aging roads and bridges are a constant reminder that we have not succeeded as a nation in modernizing our transportation systems. It's time for new approaches, not a fresh coat of paint."
Wu's new legislation provides the foundation for meeting the 21st century challenge of moving people and goods safely, efficiently, and sustainably. Oregon is already a national leader in building livable communities, and H.R. 2317 allows Oregon's research universities even greater ability to demonstrate their leadership these in the green transportation arena.
"This bill is about education, innovative research, and jobs," said Wu.
"When a street is littered with potholes and warped pavement, it impacts the fuel efficiency of every passing vehicle. A truly modern infrastructure not only helps people get around town quickly, it also reduces each individual's environmental footprint while lowering energy consumption and costs."
In addition to promoting innovative paving techniques, H.R. 2317 turns cutting-edge research into jobs by providing workforce training at University Transportation Centers (UTC's), like the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium(OTREC) at Portland State University.
Jennifer Dill, OTREC's Director greeted the introduction of H.R. 2317 with enthusiasm.
"This legislation will give leading UTCs like ours new resources to conduct innovative research, provide jobs training, and contribute viable solutions to our infrastructure needs," said Dill. "Congressman Wu's leadership helps to bring transportation research to the forefront of our national dialogue."
Specifically, Wu's legislation does three major things: addresses the impact of climate forces on transportation infrastructure; creates regional green transportation research centers at qualifying universities; and establishes research programs to fund critically needed studies related to green transportation efforts.
As the top Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation, Wu has made advancing federal research a signature priority of his career in Congress.
"For years, I have been inviting experts from Oregon to Washington, D.C. to testify about our state's successes in piloting sustainable advanced technologies."
Today's introduction of H.R. 2317 comes as the House is expected to take up a major surface transportation reauthorization this summer. The timing of Wu's bill, and his subcommittee's traditional jurisdiction over federal transportation research, means that the legislation will be an important piece for consideration as the House moves forward.