Reconnecting America People * Places * Possibility

Statement of Reconnecting America President John Robert Smith on Senate Subcommittee passage of bipartisan bill

The investments called for in this bill will strengthen America's economic resilience and improve the daily lives of millions of families

I commend the leaders of the Senate Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee, Chairman Patty Murray and Ranking Member Susan Collins, for the passage of their bipartisan bill funding critical housing and transportation programs. The investments called for in this bill in our transit, rail, and road networks and in neighborhoods and communities across the country will strengthen America's economic resilience and improve the daily lives of millions of families.

Of particular importance are the HUD Integrated Planning and Investment Grants. The $75 million set aside for this program will support integrated regional and local planning for housing, transportation, and other infrastructure in urban and rural areas around the country. By coordinating regional investment and implementation strategies, this funding will help to create stronger communities for all while getting the most out of every dollar invested.

I am also extremely pleased to see continued focus on improving and expanding America's transit and rail systems, particularly through the New Starts and TIGER programs, and funding for Amtrak to continue serving communities across the nation, as well as the inclusion of funding for MAP-21’s Transit-Oriented Development Planning Pilot Program. While more investment is still needed to meet demand in these areas, the funding provided by the Subcommittee stands in stark contrast to the deep cuts passed by the Transportation-HUD Subcommittee in the House, which would drastically reduce the transportation choices available in our communities.

The Senate panel's focus on five priority areas - transportation infrastructure, housing and services to our nation's most vulnerable, supporting communities and addressing the foreclosure crisis, ensuring the safety of our transportation system, and promoting sustainability in our communities - has helped target funding in this tight budget environment. I look forward to working with Congress to ensure that this funding is maintained in the final Transportation-HUD appropriations legislation.