Mark Udall released the following statement today after President Obama signed the bipartisan transportation compromise into law. The bill extends current transportation funding levels through September 2014 and will allow local and state government agencies to use federal funds toward continued work on transportation projects.
"This bipartisan transportation deal will create jobs and strengthen our aging highways and transportation network," Udall said. "As our economy gets back on track, this package will help improve the infrastructure Colorado businesses need to succeed. It also will provide all Coloradans with reliable roads, bridges and rail lines to travel and explore this great state."
The compromise also includes an amendment Udall pushed for alongside Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., that allows homeowners living around wildfire sites to more quickly obtain flood insurance.
"Colorado has already seen this year some of the largest and most devastating blazes in the state's history. These fires have the potential to cause severe flooding downstream from their burn zones," Udall said. "I am pleased the president signed into law an important provision I advocated - one that will continue to aid Coloradans living in and around fire zones long after the final embers are extinguished. This provision will give Coloradans stronger access to another tool to protect their properties and livelihoods from the ripple effects of catastrophic wildfires."
Udall said although he was happy to see the bill signed into law, it was not perfect. The bipartisan deal did not include reauthorization and funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which he successfully included in a previous deal. The Land and Water Conservation Fund provides critical funding to Coloradan communities to improve and maintain the natural resources.
"I remain discouraged that the Land and Water Conservation Fund was not included as part of the transportation deal," Udall said. "The preservation of our land, water and air should be a national priority. Despite this setback, I will continue the fight to reauthorize funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund."
Created in 1967, the Land and Water Conservation Fund designates a small portion of the royalties from offshore oil and gas drilling to be used for the conservation of our nation's special outdoor places. It has helped preserve land in Grand Canyon National Park and along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and to create Colorado's Great Sand Dunes National Park.
Udall encourages Coloradans who think that protecting our air, land and water deserve bipartisan support to sign this petition, and show their support. Coloradans can share the petition with this link: www.markudall.senate.gov/lwcf.