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Association of American Railroads (AAR) President and Chief Executive Officer Ian Jefferies released a statement yesterday supporting the Surface Transportation Investment Act of 2021.
Introduced by Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-Mo.), the legislation will be considered by the full committee next week. The bill would provide $78 billion over five years for multimodal surface transportation, rail, freight and safety programs.
“Railroads commend senators Cantwell and Wicker for their collaborative approach on the Surface Transportation Investment Act, which builds upon the momentum in the United States Senate for thoughtful, bipartisan legislation to strengthen our nation’s infrastructure," Jefferies said in the statement.
The bill focuses on smart investments to enhance economic competitiveness and improve safety across all modes, including the establishment of a new and robust grade crossing elimination grant program, he said.
"We strongly encourage the committee to continue on this constructive path as the bill moves forward to ensure this legislation remains a consensus product and clean of divisive measures in markup,” Jefferies said.
The Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) also endorses the bill. It would authorize an average of $1.2 billion each year in addition to funds provided through the Highway Trust Fund for the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects grant program; establish a new National Infrastructure Project Assistance Program largely aimed at mega projects and authorized at $10 billion over five years; authorize the RAISE/BUILD/TIGER program at $1.5 billion a year for five years; and create a new Office of Multimodal Freight Infrastructure and Policy within the U.S. Department of Transportation, CAGTC officials said in a press release.
"As the Senate advances its actions on reauthorization, we look forward to working with Congress and the Biden-Harris Administration toward our shared goal of improving our multimodal goods movement network,” they said.