Wilson Secures Florida Priorities in $500 Billion Infrastructure Bill Passed by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
Miami, FL – Congresswoman Wilson, who sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, applauds H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, House Democrats’ newly unveiled bill to invest more than $1.5 trillion in modern, sustainable infrastructure, while creating millions of good-paying jobs, combatting the climate crisis and addressing disparities in urban, suburban and rural communities across Florida and throughout the nation.
Rep. Wilson worked closely with constituents and colleagues to advocate for several Florida priorities. Formula programs reauthorized and established by HR 2 would apportion more than $13 billion to Florida over several years. As a leader on workforce issues, she successfully advocated for the inclusion of provisions to strengthen transportation workforce development programs and address underrepresentation of women and minorities. The bill is expected on the House floor by the end of this month.
“The Moving Forward Act not only reauthorizes surface transportation programs through fiscal year 2025, it also makes timely, climate-conscious infrastructure investments that will create much-needed jobs for Floridians,” said Rep. Wilson. “It meets the moment and delivers for all.”
Thanks to her efforts, the bill includes several provisions that she has long championed:
- Climate Change: In order to modernize the transportation sector, which is now the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, Rep. Wilson fought to establish several new programs that will reduce emissions, invest in new technologies, and improve resiliency. The bill creates a new locally-driven climate discretionary grant program; allocates $8.3 billion to states for highway, transit, and rail projects that reduce carbon pollution; and provides $6.25 billion to states for mitigating the impacts of climate change and extreme weather. Florida would receive more than $420 million under the Carbon Pollution Reduction program. Lastly, a new $1.4 billion alternative fuel charging infrastructure program will help alleviate range anxiety and encourage Floridians to accelerate their transition to electric vehicles.
- Congestion: As highlighted by the FIU Miami Urban Future Initiative’s aptly titled report “Stuck in Traffic,” the average Greater Miami commuter loses more than 100 hours of productivity and $1,400 every year to traffic congestion. Rep. Wilson worked closely with Miami transportation leaders, including the Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization chairman, Mayor Oliver Gilbert, to highlight these challenges and proposed solutions like the SMART Plan. At Rep. Wilson’s invitation, Mayor Gilbert testified before the T&I Committee in September 2019.
As a result of these and other efforts, the Moving Forward Act increases funding for the Capital Investment Grants program, a critical source of funding for projects like the SMART Plan’s North Corridor, which runs along Miami’s Northwest 27th Avenue. Additionally, the bill provides a record $105 billion for transit and $7 billion for the Transportation Alternatives Program and establishes new grant programs, including Community Climate Innovation Grants, Gridlock Reduction Grants, Projects of National and Regional Significance, and Community Transportation Investment Grants, which work in tandem to reduce congestion.
- Safety: Florida has among the highest number of train-related fatalities and some of the most dangerous stretches of road for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists. Rep. Wilson advocated for provisions that would put Florida on a path to zero rail deaths including increased funding for a myriad of safety programs and the creation of new programs to reduce transportation-related fatalities.
- Equity: Rep. Wilson has long fought for investments in socially and economically disadvantaged communities. The Moving Forward Act reauthorizes the U.S. DOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program, which compels states to expend a percentage of their funds with DBEs. It also requires equity, environmental justice, and persistent poverty considerations; provides $105 billion for transit investments in communities of all sizes; and creates a demonstration program to provide reduced fares for low-income riders.
- Historically Black Colleges and Universities: In recognition of HBCUs’ competitiveness in performing research of national significance, deepening understanding of transportation equity issues, and preparing students for transportation-related careers, Rep. Wilson secured two additional spots for HBCUs in the University Transportation Centers program in H.R. 2.
- Toll Interoperability: The 2012 surface reauthorization bill mandated the interoperability of toll collection programs within four years, which would allow Floridians to use their EZ Pass or other toll collection mechanisms anywhere in the nation. Nearly four years after the deadline, the law hasn’t been implemented. The Moving Forward Act requires that all new toll facilities provide for interoperability with other providers and calls for a review of challenges to national toll interoperability.