Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) today voted in favor of a combined legislative package to fund federal transportation programs for two more years, keep loan rates low for millions of students, and maintain national flood insurance.
The catch-all measure, which passed the House by a vote of 373-52, would overhaul transportation programs, giving states more flexibility in how they spend federal money, step up the pace of road construction by shortening environmental reviews, impose new safety regulations and boost funding for a federal loan guarantee program aimed at increasing private investment in highway and other transportation construction projects.
"The multi-year transportation reauthorization enacts critical reforms to our Nation's transportation programs, significantly streamlining Washington's bureaucratic project process while giving states and the private sector more flexibility, stability and certainty all without higher taxes or adding to the deficit," added Congressman Lance.
The House-passed bill also included a bipartisan agreement that would avert a doubling of interest rates beginning Sunday on federal student loans of 7.4 million students. The current 3.4 percent interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans would have ballooned to 6.8 percent on Sunday under a cost-saving maneuver contained in a 2007 law.
"With tuition costs rising and an unsteady job market I believe it is important that student loan rates remain at their current level," said Lance. "Many of the members of the House have called for extending the current rates without adding to the deficit. I am pleased that the U.S. Senate has agreed to pass this fiscally responsible measure to assist recent graduates and current college students."
And the legislation also extends the federal flood insurance program to protect 5.6 million households and businesses -- including many in New Jersey.
"All three of these measures reinforce my fiscally conservative beliefs that Washington must live within its means," concluded the 7th District lawmaker.