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Congresswoman Waters Seeks Robust Funding for Transportation; Accessibility for Disadvantaged Communities

May 11, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, called for funding to build and repair transportation infrastructure while adequately supporting disadvantaged communities. The requests were included in two letters to the House Committee on Appropriations, which were signed by many of the Congresswoman’s colleagues.

Congresswoman Waters’ first letter urged expansion of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program. TIGER is a nationwide competitive grant program that creates jobs by funding investments in transportation infrastructure by states, local governments, and transit agencies like Metro in Los Angeles County.  Previous TIGER grants helped to finance the construction of Metro’s Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor, which will serve the Congresswoman’s district. 

The letter requests full funding of the President’s request for $1.25 billion for TIGER in fiscal year 2017, as part of an expanded TIGER program that provides $7.5 billion over 6 years.  TIGER received $500 million in fiscal year 2016.  A total of 138 Members of Congress signed the Congresswoman’s letter. 

“Robust funding for TIGER will help to bring our nation’s transportation infrastructure into the 21st century,” said Congresswoman Waters and her colleagues in the letter.  “TIGER grants have helped to finance a wide variety of innovative projects building and repairing roads, bridges, public transit systems, ports, rail lines, and bicycle and pedestrian networks.  Moreover, TIGER encourages cooperation between agencies and jurisdictions and often funds multi-modal, multi-jurisdictional projects that are difficult to support through traditional transportation programs.”

The full text of the letter can be viewed here: PDF icon2016 Congresswoman Waters TIGER Letter.pdf

Congresswoman Waters’ second letter requested that the report to accompany the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2017 include language directing the Secretary of Transportation to establish a measure assessing the transportation system’s ability to provide multimodal connections to economic opportunities, particularly for disadvantaged communities.

“Transportation networks play a critical role in connecting people to employment opportunities and providing safe, affordable access to essential goods and services, such as health care facilities, child care services, education and workforce training services, financial institutions, and grocery stores,” said the Congresswoman in the letter.  “Access to employment opportunities and essential goods and services is especially critical for communities of color, low-income families and people with disabilities.” 

The full text of the letter and its proposed language can be viewed here: PDF iconTransportation Accessibility Performance Measure.pdf

The letter was cosigned by Representative André Carson (IN-07), member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; Representatives Keith Ellison (MN-05) and Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus; and Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), member of the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.

Also, the Congresswoman last fall applauded the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s passage of the Carson-Waters amendment, which would ensure equity for economically distressed urban communities in the distribution of Federal highway funds.  The amendment was offered at Congresswoman Waters’ request by Congressman Carson during the committee’s consideration of the surface transportation reauthorization bill.  The amendment was adopted by the committee by voice vote, and the bill was subsequently reported out of the committee and passed by the House of Representatives. However, the Carson-Waters amendment was droppped from the surface transportation reauthorization bill during conference committee negotiations with the Senate.