Washington, DC – December 07, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — As Chairman of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) is committed to ensuring safe, reliable, and efficient transportation and infrastructure investments in Louisiana and across the country. This year, Vitter has worked to pass a long-term 5-year highway reauthorization bill, increased funding for our nation’s port and waterways, and expedited critical flood protection Chief’s Reports for Louisiana.
Key highlights from this year include:
In January, Vitter was selected to be the Chairman of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure. In the previous Congress, Vitter served as the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee.
In March, Vitter received the American Association of Port Authorities’ (AAPA) 2015 “Port Person of the Year” award. AAPA recognized Vitter for his work passing the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014, securing funding for America’s ports and waterways, and positively affecting water resources policy changes.
AAPA cited Vitter’s “political expertise and influence” to increase federal appropriations for America’s ports and waterways and said he’s been a strong advocate for improving transportation infrastructure needs of America’s ports, both in terms of facilitating safe intermodal operations through funding programs like TIGER (Transportation Infrastructure Generating Economic Recovery) and in protecting port assets through funding such as the Port Security Grants program.
In June, Vitter and Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to remove the railroad industry’s obsolete exemption from antitrust laws, which will promote fairness and competition in the railroad industry. Making the railroad industry play by the same antitrust rules as other industries will result in more competitive pricing that will help keep costs down for shippers and customers.
In June, Vitter announced that the Army Corps of Engineers signed its Chief’s Report for the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction project, bringing it one step closer to construction. Vitter has been working aggressively to expedite the completion of the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain study, which would build an 18 mile levee and other flood protections measures in St. John, St. Charles, and St. James parishes.
In April, Chairman Vitter led 18 Senators in a bipartisan letter urging the Senate Appropriations Committee leadership to set the funding levels for harbor maintenance at the levels authorized in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), which Vitter passed and had signed into law last year.
In June, Chairman Vitter introduced a bipartisan six-year highway reauthorization bill, entitled the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act (DRIVE Act), along with Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), EPW Chairman; Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), EPW Ranking Member, and Tom Carper (D-Del.), senior member of the EPW Committee. Last week, the Senate passed a five-year highway bill, which now goes to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
In June, Chairman Vitter announced that the bipartisan six-year highway reauthorization bill, entitled the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act (DRIVE Act), unanimously passed out of the Committee.
In March, Vitter introduced the Autocycle Safety Act, which creates the new classification “autocycle” for enclosed motor vehicles with three wheels. Vitter’s legislation would set standards for autocycles under safety rules and the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards. Currently 26 states have enacted or are currently developing classifications for enclosed, three-wheeled vehicles as autocycles at the state level, including Louisiana, and this legislation would create a consistent national standard. Elio Motors is building a factory in the former General Motors plant in Shreveport to manufacture autocycles.
In October, the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) awarded the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) over $10 million as part of the Transportation Investment Generating Economy Recovery (TIGER) grant program to develop a new ferry terminal at the end of Canal Street in New Orleans, La. Vitter has worked to increase accountability and transparency within the TIGER grant program for years. As the former top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Vitter won key reforms to the decision-making process and management of the TIGER program, including prohibiting the DOT from accepting late grant applications and making any changes to project ratings after the project evaluation process. Prior to Vitter’s involvement, TIGER grants appeared to be awarded as political favors from the Obama Administration.