U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) reintroduced the Innovation in Surface Transportation Act on Tuesday, legislation that would give local officials more control over the transportation planning process in their communities and states.
“Local officials are faced with immense transportation infrastructure challenges but often lack the resources to pay for these improvements,” Wicker said. “This measure would enable communities to have a say in which projects merit attention and would direct federal dollars to meet those needs. Targeted, cost-effective solutions are key to modernizing this country’s infrastructure. The Wicker-Booker bill should be included in any long-term transportation plan.”
Cities and counties currently have access to less than 15 percent of all authorized federal highway funds and only one grant program.
The bill, which is co-sponsored by Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Bob Casey (D-PA), would allow local jurisdiction to compete for a greater share of federal funds on a competitive basis. A panel of local stakeholders would be making decisions on projects rather than federal officials.
“New Jersey’s residents and commuters are counting on us to find solutions that sustain and improve our nation’s highways, railways, and waterways -- networks that are critical to economic growth, job creation and national security,” Booker said. “The bipartisan legislation Sens. Wicker, Casey and I are introducing today will create new opportunities for economic growth by empowering cities to effectively compete for funds to support transportation investments.”