Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) released the following statement today on the passage of a bipartisan, 27-month transportation reauthorization bill after a nearly three-year delay, and the passage of bipartisan legislation to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling.
"For more than three years, I have been urging my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join together to pass a robust, bipartisan, long-term transportation reauthorization bill," said Rep. Lipinski, the most senior member of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee from northeastern Illinois. "Today, Congress has finally acted. Although we would be much better able to take care of our infrastructure needs locally and nationally with a bill that was longer and more robust, this bill is significantly better than a tenth short-term extension of current law or the bill proposed by House Republicans earlier this year, which I was able to help defeat with bipartisan support. The legislation we passed today will help create jobs now, relieve congestion, and promote long-term economic growth by investing in much-needed road and mass transit infrastructure projects. While it is not perfect, and one may question some of the compromises it includes, on balance it is good for our region and our country. Here in northeastern Illinois, the transportation hub of America and perhaps the most congested region in the country, we desperately need to invest in fixing our roads and mass transit. We all spend far too much time stuck in traffic or dealing with frustrating delays. After a week full of partisan battling, passage of this bill is a reminder that if both sides work together, we can still move our country forward and address pressing issues for the American people."
"As I had previously, I voted today to prevent some student loan rates from doubling to 6.8 percent. Middle-class families and students are already struggling to afford the cost of higher education. Failure to act would have caused interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans to double for more than 7 million students. A college degree is increasingly necessary in today's economy. But the obstacles to getting and paying for one are rising, as tuition and fees have doubled over the last two decades and graduates now leave college with an average debt of more than $25,000. As a former teacher, and the ranking member on the Research and Science Education Subcommittee, I look forward to continuing to work to make college more affordable."
"It is not too early to look ahead to the next transportation bill, given the lengthy delay that preceded passage of today's legislation. Next Congress, when I could be the most senior Illinois member on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, we will need to quickly get to work on developing a robust, bipartisan, and truly long-term transportation reauthorization, hopefully lasting five years."