U.S. Representative Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, today spoke about the most significant transportation policy reforms the United States has seen in decades thanks to the passage of a long-term federal transportation bill.
The bill allows more than $100 billion to be spent on highway, mass transit and other transportation programs during the next two years. Thousands of jobs will be created right here in New York.
Hanna, who is Vice Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, played an integral role in negotiating the final bill as a member of the House-Senate Conference Committee. He met personally with the leading Democrat -- Senator Barbara Boxer -- and the leading Republican -- Congressman John Mica -- on the conference committee.
"This bill is the culmination of more than a year's work aimed at improving our national transportation policies," Rep. Hanna said. "We now have two years of steady federal funding coming to New York State so we can invest in our ailing roads and bridges. This bill will help improve our infrastructure and put so many of our neighbors back to work strengthening the middle class and rebuilding our economy."
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald joined Rep. Hanna in Oriskany to announce the passage of the highway bill and what it means for the state. They were joined by Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente and state Sen. Joseph A. Griffo.
In the afternoon, Rep. Hanna was joined in Chenango by Broome County Executive Debbie Preston, Legislature Chairman Jerry Marinich, and state Assemblyman Clifford W. Crouch.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BILL
- More than $100 billion will be spent over the next two years on federal highway projects, rebuilding our nation's infrastructure and putting middle and working class men and women back to work throughout the nation.
- This bill eliminates wasteful or duplicative programs that for too long diverted funds from worthy transportation projects to unrelated causes.
- It will significantly reduce the time it takes to complete major projects from 14 years by cutting through red tape and bureaucracy that can mire projects in lawsuits and unnecessary reviews.
- This bill contains zero earmarks--ending the history of 'bridges to nowhere.' That means more funds are available for real work that needs to be done in Upstate.
- Significantly for upstate New York, Rep. Hanna negotiated key concessions from the Senate's bill that would have devastated the Metropolitan Planning Organizations in Utica, Rome and Binghamton. These groups play a vital role in identifying and planning for needed projects in these areas. Working with the National Association of Development Organizations, Rep. Hanna also included a provision to provide small, rural communities a greater say in the planning process to ensure their voices are heard when important decisions are made about which projects to fund.
House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica praised Hanna's work on the committee and as a member of the House-Senate Conference Committee: "I am grateful to Congressman Hanna for his hard work in crafting this long-term transportation bill. Given his background in construction and focus on achieving results, Richard Hanna was an invaluable member of the team that got this landmark bill to the finish line."