e-News 6/1/2018

Transportation-Housing Funding Bill Supports Gateway, Other NJ Priorities

Last Week, Busy Week in the House

“How China Acquires ‘the crown jewels’ of U.S. Technology”

“So Many American Heroes Are Still Missing.”

Be Prepared for Summer Storms:

Salute: New Jersey State Trooper Brian McNally


Transportation-Housing Funding Bill Supports Gateway, Other NJ Priorities

My House Appropriations Committee last week moved another key funding measure closer to House passage when it approved the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) bill.  The legislation protects programs important to New Jersey municipalities. 

For too long, the transportation infrastructure in our nation has been neglected, which has dampened growth and efficiency. This bill will provide a much-needed boost in funding for improvements in our infrastructure system – whether it is roads, bridges, rail, bus, air travel, or waterways. I am particularly pleased to see funding in the bill that will support the Northeast Corridor by modernizing and maintaining the safety of one of the busiest and most economically vital systems in the world.  It also supports core community and housing programs to ensure shelter for our most vulnerable citizens and expand economic opportunities for our local communities.

The FY ’19 bill provides $3.2 billion for various rail programs, $62.5 million over current funding levels and $2.1 billion above the President’s budget request.

The legislation provides significant funding for critical Northeast Corridor rail infrastructure with $500 million in the Rail State of Good Repair account, an increase of $250 million above current levels.  Amtrak is funded at $1.9 billion, with $650 million dedicated to the Northeast Corridor account.

These investments will be used to restore important transportation infrastructure that is vital to our economy and our national security. This includes funding that can be used for the Gateway Project, which is not just critical to New York and New Jersey but to the entire country. More than 20 states rely on the East Coast rail system.  I worry greatly about the possibility of a catastrophe in one of the tunnels – the security and economic implications of which would ripple across the nation. So, the benefits of the Gateway Project exceed state lines and party politics.

As I told Secretary Chao a few weeks back, the Administration’s opposition to this project is baffling, and frankly, unacceptable. So I am very, very glad to see that this bill provides the funds needed to move this project forward.  I continue to urge Secretary Chao not to stand in the way of such an important investment that truly puts America first. The Administration has spent an inordinate amount of time thwarting these rail safety improvements, the completion of any of which might actually give some credibility to its infrastructure mantra.

The bill also includes $262.3 million for rail safety and research, $40.4 million above the budget request of an Administration that claims to care about rebuilding our infrastructure.

The legislation also provides $390 million for Section 811 housing vouchers for non-elderly, disabled persons, an increase of $283 million above the President’s request.  These “Frelinghuysen Vouchers” provide new housing opportunities for persons with disabilities. This funding will support existing voucher holders and serve 30,000 additional non-elderly disabled households.

The Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) program, a program proposed for elimination by the Administration, is funded at $3.3 billion, the same as current levels. CDBG is a flexible program that provides communities in New Jersey with resources to address a wide range of unique county and municipal needs.

Learn more about the latest T-HUD Appropriations bill here:

Learn more about key appropriations support for New Jersey programs here:

Last Week, Busy Week in the House

The House was busy at work last week, sending three bills to the president’s desk for his signature:

1.    the VA MISSION Act to improve medical care for veterans;

2.    a Dodd-Frank reform bill establishing more reasonable financial regulations;

3.    “Right to Try” legislation to ensure terminally ill patients have access to expanded treatment options

Recommended Reading:“How China Acquires ‘the crown jewels’ of U.S. Technology” in Politico.  It’s a long article but worth the read:

ICYMI:My Memorial Day op-ed piece in the Bergen Record: “So Many American Heroes Are Still Missing.” Read it here:

Be Prepared for Summer Storms:

Today marks the official start of Atlantic Hurricane Season which runs until early winter.  As you know very well, New Jersey has suffered significant damage from recent storms.  While we do not know what this hurricane season will bring to our state, you can start thinking about preparations by visiting here:

Salute: A final farewell to New Jersey State Trooper Brian McNally who was laid to rest this week after an off-duty crash on Interstate 78 in Pennsylvania. Born in Livingston, he grew up in Morris Township and Morristown. He was a 2006 graduate of Morristown High School, where he played football, lacrosse and competed on the swim team.  He served his nation in the United States Marine Corps.  He served his state in the New Jersey State Police.  Farewell Brian.