Transportation & Infrastructure

 

In Washington state, transportation means jobs. We cannot have a big league economy with a little league infrastructure. As a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I am working hard to make investments in our roads, bridges, highways and transit to relieve congestion, improve safety and spur economic growth in local communities. Businesses need to be able to trust in reliable access to markets and Washingtonians need to be assured of their safety during daily travel.

Federal investment in Washington’s infrastructure is critical to sustaining and building on the state’s economic growth and putting folks in the Pacific Northwest to work. In 2015, Congress passed a five-year transportation bill, and I pushed to make sure the bill included Northwest Washington’s transportation priorities, like robust federal funding for ferryboats, transit, bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

I am honored to have been selected by my colleagues to serve as the Ranking Member, the lead Democratic member, of the Aviation Subcommittee. The Subcommittee’s oversight work is critical to jobs and the economy in Washington state and the Second District. The Pacific Northwest is the aerospace capital of the world, and I am committed to ensuring the United States invests in our aviation future. Aviation manufacturing and maintenance are powerful economic engines, and mean jobs in Northwest Washington. I will continue to support the growth and safety of our country’s aviation industry.

Accomplishments

Roads, Bridges, Highways and Transit

Introduced the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery for Cities Underfunded Because of Size (TIGER CUBS) Act of 2017 to set-aside 20 percent of the federal funds for smaller and medium-sized cities made available through the TIGER grant program (now known as the BUILD program). This bill would allow cities like Oak Harbor, Mountlake Terrace, Sedro-Woolley and Lynden to compete for federal transportation funding on a level playing field.

Secured a $43.2 million Department of Transportation grant for Community Transit’s Swift Green Line. This expanded service will provide 10-minute bus route between Paine Field and Canyon Park in Bothell.

Following the tragic Amtrak Cascades 501 derailment in December 2017, I introduced the Positive Train Control Implementation and Financing Act of 2018 to encourage higher rail safety standards and provide the necessary federal resources to help railroad companies implement these life-saving communications and signaling safety mechanisms.

Pushed for Northwest Washington’s transportation priorities in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST Act), a five-year transportation bill that President Obama signed into law in December 2015. Successes for Northwest Washington include:

Streamlined a popular transportation loan program to help mid-sized cities like Mountlake Terrace and Anacortes access the big-time funds they need.

Supported efforts that spanned a decade to rehabilitate the Mukilteo Ferry Terminal, leading to quicker ferry loading times, better links to light rail and increased safety for pedestrians. Wrote a letter in support of the successful application for a $10 million TIGER grant.

Following the Skagit River Bridge collapse in 2013, I worked with officials at all levels of government to cut through red tape and speed up bridge repairs to keep people and commerce moving along the I-5 corridor.

Supported several Department of Transportation grant applications by local transit agencies to expand service, modernize facilities and improve the safety of the Pacific Northwest corridor.

Aviation

Led the House passage of a five-year Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill to provide predictable funding for the agency, improve aviation safety, address workforce needs and advance vital research in the aviation field. Accomplishments include:

  • Creating a Youth Access to American Jobs in Aviation Task Force to work with aviation trade schools and community colleges, airline carriers and industry, labor unions and other relevant stakeholders to develop recommendations to encourage high school students to enroll in aviation manufacturing, maintenance and engineering apprenticeships.
  • Improving the federal Contract Tower Program to allow airports, like Bellingham International Airport, to make investments in their critical infrastructure.
  • Enhancing the interagency coordination process on counter-unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to ensure this technology is safely integrated into the national airspace.
  • Helping prevent drastic cuts to the FAA’s environmental research and development funding, which support the development of new aircraft technologies that reduce the noise and carbon emission impacts on local communities.
  • Strengthening the FAA's current voluntary safety reporting program for pilots so that critical safety enhancements are not needlessly delayed.

Pushed to secure the 777X facility in Snohomish County, protecting thousands of jobs and creating thousands more in the district.

Championed new pilot safety training rules to make sure that travelers are safe and pilots are trained to the highest level before getting in the cockpit.

Championed the bipartisan provisions on certification and UAS in the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act of 2016, a bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration.

Worked on a bipartisan basis to improve the FAA’s implementation of NextGen air traffic management, which will result in increased efficiency, shorter flights, and decreased emissions and fuel usage.

Ports and Maritime

Led the House passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018 to make robust investments in the nation’s ports, channels, waterways and other critical infrastructure to keep the U.S. maritime system competitive. Successes for Northwest Washington include:

  • Improving available resources for the Puget Sound Adjacent Waters Restoration program (PSAW). Specifically, doubling the PSAW per-project funding cap to $10 million and raising the overall authorization level by $20 million.
  • Encouraging better coordination between the Army Corps of Engineers and local municipalities to encourage consideration of locally developed plans for stormwater management, water quality improvement, aquifer recharge, or water reuse.
  • Expediting the feasibility study for the Port of Tacoma Harbor navigation project to assist with pre-construction planning, design and engineering phases.
  • Supports a five-year pilot program for research that will identify and improve strategies for early detection, prevention, management techniques and procedures to reduce harmful algal blooms in the nation’s water resources.

Helped secure federal funding to support small shipyards like Dakota Creek Industries in Anacortes and Nichols Brothers Boat Builders in Freeland by championing grants to help increase productivity and create jobs.

Worked on a bipartisan basis to pass the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2012. Worked with Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) to pass a bipartisan bill to fund and authorize the activities of the United States Coast Guard. This bill also includes marine debris cleanup, and protections for the Coast Guard’s icebreaker fleet. Shipbuilding authorizations in the bill have supported jobs at shipyards in Washington state.

Cosponsored legislation to make maritime training programs affordable for all students by allowing students at maritime training institutions to take out student loans and creating maritime training institution scholarships.

Energy Transportation

Championed a provision in the PIPES Act of 2016 to renew technical assistance grants that Washington state stakeholders rely on to improve pipeline planning and development, emergency response, and information sharing. President Obama signed the bill into law in June 2016.

Pushed to include higher standards for oil tankers in the FAST Act of 2015. Specifically, the bill requires improvements to the caps on older tank cars to reduce pressure and the potential for explosion in case of an accident.

Led the Washington state delegation in pushing for new rules to improve the safety standards for rail cars carrying crude oil.

Helped lead passage of a bill to strengthen pipeline safety regulations after a deadly pipeline explosion occurred in Bellingham in 1999, and passed updates to strengthen the 2002 Pipeline Safety Improvement Act, in 2006 and the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011.