Reps. Davis, Titus Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Increase Local Control of Federal Transportation Funds
U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) and Dina Titus (D-Nev.) announced today the introduction of H.R. 1393, the Innovation in Surface Transportation Act, a bill to give local communities a stronger voice in determining how federal transportation dollars are spent at the state level.
“The Innovation in Surface Transportation Act will give our rural communities and smaller cities like Springfield, Bloomington-Normal, Champaign, and Decatur in my district, a greater say in how federal transportation dollars are spent,” said Davis. “Too often important projects in these areas are overlooked and fail to receive their fair share of funding. This bill will also help our transportation dollars go further by encouraging public-private partnerships and creating more transparency.”
“It is essential that our local communities have a seat at the table when these critical decisions are made,” said Titus. “In Las Vegas, and cities across the country, the ability to move people and goods safely and efficiently is critical to all aspects of our economy. Empowering major businesses, travel and tourism authorities, and local entities as part of the process will ensure that projects reflect the economic development priorities in our communities.”
“Locally driven projects are essential to the future of transportation, infrastructure and our economy,” said Mayor Chris Koos of Normal, IL. “We understand our needs better than other agencies and know how to get the best use of federal dollars within an efficient time frame. We have established strong local public/private partnerships and work seamlessly together to create a community that fosters economic growth and increased quality of life.”
H.R. 1393 directs states to establish an in-state, competitive grant program in which a panel compiled of representatives from state transportation departments, local governments, planning organizations, and other transportation/economic stakeholders select projects to receive funding from already established federal transportation programs. This legislation creates more transparency by requiring states to publicly post the criteria or methodology used to select projects, the amount requested, the amount granted, and the source of non-federal funds. Specifics of the bill can be found here.
Additional cosponsors of the bill include: U.S. Reps. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), and Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.).
U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) have introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
Background: Reps. Davis and Titus originally introduced the Innovation in Surface Transportation Act in 2014. Davis announced this legislation at a press conference in Uptown Normal with Mayor Chris Koos and representatives from Transportation for America.