MORRIS COUNTY — Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill became an original co-sponsor of the Transportation Funding Fairness Act (TFFA). The bill clarifies that a state may determine whether a federally-backed and provided loan counts towards either the non-federal share or federal share of a transportation project.
“The Federal Transit Administration’s gambit to ignore existing laws concerning transportation funding mechanisms is malign neglect meant to kneecap the Gateway Project,” said Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill. “We should not be playing politics with the security and safety of our commuters. This bill reaffirms the congressional intent behind current law to ensure that the most important infrastructure project in the country is not unfairly targeted by the administration.”
Led by Representative Tom Malinowski (NJ-7), the bill is co-sponsored by Representatives Mikie Sherrill, Frank Pallone, Bill Pascrell, Albio Sires, and Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey.
Congresswoman Sherrill supported this legislation as part of a multi-pronged effort she is leading in Congress to move the Gateway Project forward, including support for $650 million in the pending FY 2019 transportation appropriations bill for the Northeast Rail Corridor, and urging the Department of Transportation to immediately put to work the $275 million already appropriated by Congress for the Northeast Rail Corridor.
The 2015 bipartisan agreement between officials in New Jersey, New York, and the federal government established a 50-50 cost-sharing plan for funding the Gateway Project to be split between the states and the federal government. New Jersey and New York submitted their funding plan that included federal loans available to the states under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF).
However, under the current administration, the FTA has ignored long-standing policy and arbitrarily decided that TIFIA and RRIF loans cannot be used by states, even though 23 US Code 603 states US loans may be considered the federal or state share of a project.
The TFFA revises 23 US Code 603 to clarify states or other obligators may determine transportation loans as the federal or non-federal share of a project. It also inserts language into 49 US Code 5309, explicitly stating that the determination of where loans fall in federal/non-federal share of a project is determined in 23 US Code 603.