House Adopts Long Term Infrastructure Bill, Including Several South Florida Priorities
“The FAST Act will provide five years of fully paid-for transportation projects throughout the country to fix our aging infrastructure. This critical long-term legislation makes much-needed improvements to highway and vehicle safety, reforms and expands public transportation, and increases funding available for bridges and roads.
This bill includes bipartisan language offered by Rep. Titus and myself to protect our seniors and pedestrians in congested traffic areas. Recent studies conducted by AARP indicate that the top four deadliest cities for pedestrians are in Florida, including Miami. This important language will ensure the safety of pedestrians in South Florida.
The FAST Act also provides vigorous funding levels for the University Transportation Center program. 125 universities across the country, including Florida International University (FIU) in FL-26, conduct critical research to develop future transportation technologies. FIU is a globally-recognized leader in Accelerated Bridge Construction, and I’m proud to advocate not only on their behalf, but for all UTCs. Earlier in the year I introduced a bill with Rep. Lipinski similar to the language used in the FAST Act which received significant bipartisan support.
Also included in the FAST Act that will greatly benefit South Florida is a much needed fix to the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, or WIFIA, to allow the WIFIA program to use tax-exempt municipal bonds to revitalize our nation’s aging water infrastructure. Earlier this year I introduced a bill with bipartisan support that made this fix, and am grateful it was included in the FAST Act to allow local governments the tools necessary to repair our aging water systems.”
The Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department Director, Lester Sola, offered the following statement in support of Rep. Curbelo’s work on WIFIA:
“Representative Carlos Curbelo’s successful language to the transportation bill to authorize utilities to use tax exempt bonds in concert with financing under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) will enable Miami-Dade County to benefit from this federal assistance to support more than $13 billion of needed upgrades to its water and sewer system. This legislation is excellent news for critical water infrastructure across the nation, much of which will involve close coordination with roadway improvements to achieve even greater efficiencies.”
In addition, the President of Florida International University, Mark B. Rosenberg, offered the following quote in support of the adoption of the Conference Report:
"We appreciate the leadership of Congressman Curbelo in ensuring that the US Department of Transportation harnesses the power of our research universities to address critical needs. At FIU, this will help the country advance bettersolutions forreplacing and repairing our aging bridges in a cost-effective andquick manner."
The House adopted the Conference Report to H.R. 22 on December 3, 2015 by a vote of 359-65. The Senate is expected to adopt this Report in the next several days, where it willsubsequently be presented to President Obama for his signature into law.
To watch Rep. Curbelo’s Floor speech in support of the FAST Act, please click here.