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2.10.12 Transportation Bill HR 7

2.10.12 Transportation Bill HR 7

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Published by: sourcemetro on Feb 10, 2012
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05/13/2014

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February10,2012TheHonorableJohnBoehnerSpeakeroftheHouseofRepresentativesH-232,TheCapitolWashington,DC20515TheHonorableJohnL.MicaChairmanCommitteeonTransportationandInfrastructure2165RayburnHouseOfficeBuildingWashington,DC20515DearSpeakerBoehnerandChairmanMica,WearewritingasconcernedMembersofCongressfromCaliforniaregardingH.R.7,theAmericanEnergyandInfrastructureAct,whichpassedoutoftheTransportationandInfrastructureCommitteeonFebruary3
rd
Ifthisbillisenactedintolaw,itwillhurtCalifornia'sfragileeconomybycuttingvitalfunding,prohibitingnewfundsfrombeingdispersedtooneofCalifornia'slargestinfrastructureprojects,anddelayingsafetymeasures.Additionally,weopposetheplannedoffsetsforthebill,especiallytheproposaltodrilloffthecoastofCalifornia.Thisprovisionwillnotmakeupthefundinggapinthesurfacetransportationbillandhasnoplaceinthislegislation.Forthesereasons,weurgeyoutoreconsidertheseproposalsthatwillhurtratherthanhelpoureconomy.
FundingCuts
H.R.7willmakemajorcutstohighway,transitandrailinvestmentsinCalifornia.Thebillwillcut$724.5millioninhighwayfundingtoCaliforniaover5yearsfromcurrentlevels.Additionally,bydramaticallychangingfederaltransitpolicythebillwillcrippleourtransitagencieswhicharevitaltoourstate'stransportationsystem.Thebillchanges30yearsoftransitpolicybydelinkingtransitfundingfromtheHighwayTrustFund.Thenew"AlternativeTransportationAccount"willnolongerbeguaranteedfundingthroughhighwayuserfeerevenues.Thiswillforcetransitprogramstocompetewithotherdiscretionaryprioritiesandleadtoreducedfederalinvestmentintransit.Wearealsoconcernedwiththe25%cuttoAmtrakwhichwillhurtCalifornia'seconomy.Californiahas3ofthetop5busiestAmtrakcorridorsintheU.S-PacificSurfliner,CapitolCorridorandSanJoaquinCorridor.Cuttingfederalinvestmentinpassengerrailwilldirectlyimpactourconstituentsthatrelyontheseservices.AsCalifornia'Spopulationcontinuestogrow,ouralreadycongestedroadsareworsening.Infact,travelonCalifornia'sinterstatesystemisincreasingataratefivetimesfasterthancapacity.InanefforttotieCalifornia'shands,thebillwouldprohibitanyfundstoheusedforthedevelopmentofhigh-speedrailinCalifornia.
ProgramsCut
Toachievethesamecapacityastheproposedhigh-speedrailsystem,Californiawouldneedtoconstruct:2,300newlanemilesofhighway;115additionalgatesatCaliforniaairports;and4new
PRINTEDONRECYCLEDPAPER
 
airportrunwaystothetuneof$114billionoverthenext20years.Thiswouldcostapproximately$171billionwithinflation,farmorethanitwouldcosttodeveloptheplannedhigh-speedrailsystem.Californianeedstofindasolutiontoitscongestion.Prohibitingfundsforhigh-speedrailinCalifornia,whenotherstatesarefreetomoveforwardwithhigh-speedrail,willpreventCaliforniafrombeingabletodecidehowtobestaddressitscapacityconstraintsandtransportationneeds.ThebillalsoeliminatestheProjectsofRegionalandNationalSignificancePrograms.Over45%ofthenation'simportsaretransportedthroughCalifornia,andmuchofthatmovesontotherestofthenation.TheeliminationofthisprogramwilladverselyimpactCalifornia.
DelaysSafetyMeasures
In
responsetothecatastrophicSouthernCaliforniaMetrolinkaccidentin2008,CongressrequiredrailroadstoimplementPositiveTrainControl(PTC),whicharesystemsdesignedtoautomaticallypreventtraincollisionsandderailment,byDecember31,2015.ThebilldelaysPTCimplementationuntilDecember31,2020.H.R.7alsoeliminatestheFRA'sauthoritytorequireinstallationofPTConraillinesandeliminatesthedeadlineforPTConraillinesonwhichtoxic-by-inhalationhazardousmaterialsaretransported.Peoplelosttheirlives,andwehavethetechnologytopreventsuchdisastersinthefuture.Weshouldnotdelaythesesafetymeasures.
Offsets
WeareconcernedandfinditdisingenuoustoclaimthatincreaseddrillingforoilshaleanddrillingoffthecoastofCaliforniaandelsewhereintheCountrywillprovideadequatefundingforourtransportationneeds.Infact,accordingtotheNRDC,thisprovisionwilllikelyonlyproduce1%ofthefunding.Includingthisoffsetonatransportation
bill
thathastraditionallybeenbipartisanisneedlesslysquanderinganopportunitytomovearealjobspackagethisyearthatwillhelpallofourconstituents.
TransportationInfrastructureFinanceandInnovationAct(TIFIA)Program
Wedosupporttheinclusionof$1billionfortheTransportationInfrastructureFinanceandInnovationAct(TIFIA)Program.Thisfederalloanprogramprovidesdirectloans,loanguarantees,andlinesofcredittofinancetransportationprojectsofnationalandregionalsignificance.ManyCaliforniacitiesandtransportationagenciesarestrongsupportersofthisprogramasitwillallowthemtoquicklyconstructprojectsthatarefundedbyalong-termlocalrevenuestream.Thiscancutdownonoverallprojectcostsbyreducinginflationarycosts.AsMembersfromCalifornia,welookforwardtoworkingwithyoutoaddressourcountry'sinfrastructureneeds.However,inthebestinterestofourconstituents,wecannotsupportH.R.7.Sincerely,
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