Congressman Cohen Votes to Pass INVEST in America Act
MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, today voted for and the House passed an ambitious, five-year surface transportation bill containing several of his legislative priorities. The measure, the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST) in America Act, contains Congressman Cohen’s member-designated projects to improve Elvis Presley Boulevard in the Whitehaven community; purchase six all-electric buses for the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA); reconstruct the intersection of Poplar Avenue and Cooper Street at Overton Park; improved traffic flow for Lamar Avenue, Kimball Avenue and Pendleton Street in Orange Mound; and install pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly improvements to increase safety on Mississippi Boulevard near LeMoyne-Owen College.
Congressman Cohen made the following statement:
“I was pleased to vote for the INVEST in America Act, a transformational investment in America that shows the United States can again meet the critical transportation needs of our country. Major elements of this bill will make a huge difference to the people of the 9th Congressional District. These investments in America will improve and speed up the movement of freight, increase traffic safety, and modernize our transportation infrastructure for the 21st Century.”
The bill contains provisions Congressman Cohen introduced, including:
- H.R. 1809, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Highway Act, which would name U.S. Highway 80, from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Highway;
- H.R. 3090, the Interstate Rail Compacts Advancement Act, which would create multi-state passenger rail commissions to promote regional coordination and sustain a vision of passenger rail service across the country;
- H.R. 921, the Horse Transportation Safety Act, which would protect the lives of both horses and humans as horses are transported on our nation’s highways by prohibiting interstate transportation of horses in a motor vehicle containing two or more levels stacked on top of one another.
It also incorporates many elements of his other bills including H.R. 1622, the Stop Underrides Act, H.R. 3381, the School Bus Safety Act and H.R. 1289, the Complete Streets Act.
During the mark-up of the measure in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee earlier this month, Congressman Cohen introduced an amendment based on his recently introduced bill, H.R. 3757, the Multiple Substance Impaired Driving Prevention Act, which would make important changes to the NHTSA Section 405 incentive grant to address multiple-substance impaired driving. This amendment was included in the bill that passed today.
Three of Congressman Cohen’s amendments from last Congress were included that would authorize the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the inconsistent reporting of alcohol-impaired driving arrest and citation results; direct the Amtrak Working Group to study the reinstatement of dining car service on long-distance routes; and set a date for the establishment of the Committee on Underride Protection.
Just as Memphis experiences the traffic nightmare caused by a cracked beam on the Hernando DeSoto-Interstate 40 Bridge over the Mississippi River, which demonstrates the need to improve aging infrastructure, the INVEST in America Act includes $32 billion for improvements to bridges. It also includes:
- $109 billion in record investments in transit to increase routes, reduce the transit maintenance backlog and provide more frequent service;
- $95 billion for passenger and freight rail including tripled funding for Amtrak allowing for enhanced service;
- $10 billion in existing and new programs for pedestrian and bike infrastructure and complete streets;
- $8.3 billion in highway, transit, and rail projects that will reduce greenhouse gases;
- $4 billion in electric vehicle charging and alternative fueling infrastructure along designated corridors, reducing range anxiety, and helping America shift to the next generation of clean vehicles; and
- $3 billion in new program funding to reconnect economically disadvantaged and underserved neighborhoods that have been divided by arterial highways and other infrastructure, emphasizing projects that ensure inclusive economic development and environmental justice.