Transportation bill gains support in Senate

H.R. 4726, the Innovation in Surface Transportation Act, co-introduced by Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) in the House, gained additional support when Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) introduced companion legislation in the Senate on Monday.

The bipartisan legislation that Davis and Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) introduced in the House would give local communities better access to federal transportation funds. 

“Rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure is key to turning our economy around and creating good-paying jobs, and local municipalities, planning commissions and transit agencies must be a part of that process,” Davis said. “The Innovation in Surface Transportation Act recognizes our nation’s fiscal realities by giving preference to projects that strengthen the return on investment, encouraging public-private partnerships and increasing transparency so that every federal dollar spent goes a little bit further.”

Currently, a vast majority of federal highway funds are given to the states to spend at their discretion. The input and ability of local governments to decide how to use those funds is limited. The Innovation in Surface Transportation Act would create an in-state grant program that would allow a percentage of those funds to be competitively bid for by eligible local entities.