U.S. Sen. David Vitter today made the following statement ahead of President Obama officially signing the bipartisan Highway Bill into law. Both the House and Senate passed the bill last Friday. In addition to getting Louisiana's rate of return for infrastructure projects significantly increased, Vitter was able to help get the Restore Act included and a five year reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program.
"We were able to score a real triple win for Louisiana on the Conference Committee -- the Restore Act; a very pro-Louisiana highway funding formula; and stable, long-term flood insurance," Vitter said. "As the ranking member of the subcommittee of jurisdiction, I was very pleased to see this bill go from start to finished product. I'm also very pleased to get Louisiana's rate of return on highway projects increased significantly. Since 2005, Louisiana was only getting 93.7 cents back for every dollar of state taxpayer money sent to the federal government. Now we'll be getting $1.02 for every dollar. That is a huge jump."
Vitter was the only Louisiana member on the Conference committee that was tasked with finalizing the highway bill between the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate.
Before both chambers passed their versions of the bill and Vitter was assigned to the Conference Committee, he helped get the Highway Bill reauthorization passed through the Senate Committee in November 2011 and through the U.S. Senate in March 2012. Vitter, along with U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) are the original co-sponsors of the bill. Vitter is the Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure which had direct jurisdiction over the Highway Bill.
Vitter is an original cosponsor of the Restore Act, which ensures that at least 80 percent of the fines BP must pay under the Clean Water Act (CWA) will be set aside for Gulf Coast states rather than just going into a general fund. And Vitter has long championed the five year reauthorization of the national flood insurance program.
The transportation portions of the highway bill include measures that will benefit Louisiana directly. The state is expected to receive more than $680 million per year in federal highway dollars which is a 102.14% rate of return on the amount of gas tax Louisianians send the Federal government in a given year. States will also have more flexibility to spend state transportation dollars and build projects more efficiently through an expedited delivery process.
Vitter serves as the ranking member of the EPW subcommittee with jurisdiction over the bill.