Congresswoman Angie Craig Champions Local Transportation and Infrastructure Priorities
In her role on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, U.S. Rep. Angie Craig recently called for Congress to include projects and priorities from Minnesota’s Second Congressional District as a part of an upcoming wide-reaching federal surface transportation package. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act is set to expire in September 2020 and must be reauthorized with improvements to highways, motor vehicle safety, public transit, motor carrier safety, hazardous materials safety, rail safety, as well as research, technology, and statistics programs.
Over the past several weeks, Rep. Craig personally reached out to stakeholders in her district to learn about their challenges and priorities involving federal transportation and infrastructure funding. Feedback was received from representatives in state and local government, the business community, organized labor, and other organizations that rely on safe and efficient roadways, railways, and public transit. Rep. Craig recently sent a letter to Committee communicating these findings.
“Infrastructure is the foundation that makes economic productivity possible and shapes how Americans move, communicate, and earn a living. When we invest in the infrastructure of our communities, it increases prosperity for hardworking Minnesotans and their families by providing quality jobs and access to educational opportunities,” said Rep. Craig. “As Congress crafts long-term surface transportation legislation, I will fight to ensure Minnesotans, regardless of where they live in the Second Congressional District, feel the positive effects of 21st-century updates to our aging infrastructure.”
Stakeholders were in agreement that insufficient past investment has resulted in our local communities being unable to meet the transportation needs of residents. Smaller localities also communicated their difficulty in obtaining grants when in competition with larger counties and their need for increased funding. Currently, more than 50 percent of road fatalities occur on rural roads, an issue that will be a focus of Congresswoman Craig as surface transportation legislation is crafted in the 116th Congress.
A summary of the local priorities reflected from her outreach include:
- Stabilizing and augmenting the Highway Trust Fund through a long-term, sustainable inflation-indexed revenue solution.
- Increasing flexibility and direct funding opportunities to include rural areas and smaller cities that need investments the most.
- Keeping interchanges and bridges safe by establishing a standalone bridge repair program.
- Expanding the High Risk Rural Roads Program to be a standalone program that does not deplete highway safety improvement funds.
- Expanding policies to build today’s transportation and infrastructure workforce by increasing funding, creative policies and new pilot programs for apprenticeship and training models in states and counties.
- Increasing the authorization for transportation alternatives and public transportation to include suburban funding and increased rail routes.
Stakeholders who communicated transportation and infrastructure priorities include Scott, Washington, Rice, Wabasha, Goodhue, Dakota Counties as well as business, labor and community organizations.