Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 3763), a six-year bill to authorize highway and transit programs across the United States. Several amendments to benefit Ventura County and authored by Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) were approved by the Committee.
“We must ensure the United States continues to be a world leader in innovation and job growth, and keeping our infrastructure in a state-of-good-repair is essential to our success,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “While the bill is not perfect, it includes critical investments in California’s highway and transit systems, along with several priorities benefiting Ventura County. I look forward to working with my colleagues to make further improvements as the legislation moves forward.”
Brownley worked with Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore) and Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa) to incorporate her priorities for Ventura County into the bipartisan Managers amendment:
- In response to the three separate grade crossing accidents in Ventura County since January, Brownley included language to ensure that railway-highway grade crossing are explicitly authorized under the Surface Transportation Program (STP). This amendment will ensure that state and local governments can use STP funds for railway crossing safety upgrades, including better signals and signage, and where necessary construct grade separation projects.
- To ensure that the Port of Hueneme can be included in the National Multimodal Freight Network, Brownley added a provision to permit states to add ports to the network. This will help ensure that California ports, like the Port of Hueneme, are able to plug into critical railway networks and transport goods across our region and our nation.
- Brownley also worked with colleagues to include a provision that will permit VA doctors to complete medical exams for veterans who apply for a Commercial Drivers’ License (CDL), which will cut bureaucratic red tape and make it easier for veterans to get jobs and return to work as they transition back to civilian life.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved the bill this afternoon. The House Ways and Means Committee must now act on a financing title before the legislation moves to the House floor. The Senate passed its version of the legislation, the DRIVE Act (H.R. 22) on July 30, 2015.
For more information about the bill, go to: https://transportation.house.gov/strr-act/