MORRIS COUNTY — Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) today praised the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act (INVEST in America Act) and thanked her New Jersey colleagues on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for working with the delegation to secure key priorities for the Garden State. The INVEST in America Act (H.R. 2) reauthorizes surface transportation programs through FY 2025. It includes transportation infrastructure priorities that Representative Sherrill urged the committee to include that will move the Gateway Project forward, bring construction dollars back to New Jersey, and prevent future federal obstruction.
“The New Jersey delegation is one team when it comes to pushing the ball forward on the Gateway project and bringing construction dollars back to our state,” said Representative Sherrill. “The COVID-19 pandemic only makes passing this package and getting shovels in the ground more urgent so we can jumpstart our economic recovery. I urge the House to pass this legislation so we can help our country and our residents in North Jersey.”
The INVEST in America Act includes several provisions Representative Sherrill advocated for to advance the Gateway Project and improve commuting and passenger rail in New Jersey and along the Northeast Corridor:
- Authorizes $29.3 billion over five years for Amtrak, including $13.1 billion for the Northeast Corridor – more than three times the FAST Act level of investment.
- Clarifies that federal loans under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) that are repaid with state funds are counted as part of the state government share of the project. This provision was originally included in the Transportation Funding Fairness Act, sponsored by Rep. Malinowski and co-sponsored by Rep. Sherrill.
- Creates the Passenger Rail Improvement, Modernization, and Expansion (PRIME) Grant Program, which is authorized at $19 billion over five years and is devoted entirely to funding passenger rail improvements and expansion. Rep Sherrill testified in front of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in May 2019 about the need for dedicated funding sources for passenger rail projects.
- Specifies that PRIME grants are available to projects in the project planning, development, and environmental analysis phase. Rep. Sherrill has strongly advocated for the inclusion of this language after the Administration held up Gateway funding because the project wasn’t in the construction phase.
- Creates the Projects of National and Regional Significance grant program, a broad funding pool for passenger rail/transit projects such as Gateway that is authorized at $9 billion over the life of the bill.
- Expands funding for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grant program from $1.2 billion over five years to $7 billion over five years, and expands eligibility for the program to commuter authorities such as NJ Transit.
- Requires increased oversight and transparency in the Department of Transportation’s transit project authorization process, including requiring regular reports to Congress by the Secretary of Transportation about transit funding decision-making.