Time to Build

A critical moment for U.S. infrastructure

Robust and reliable infrastructure is the foundation for economic success and security. But for too long, the United States has underinvested in our infrastructure, and this once vibrant foundation has crumbled.

This year, the American Society of Civil Engineers once again gave America’s infrastructure a D+ rating.

For those of us who live in the Northeast, the consequences of our failing infrastructure are all too real.

As I wrote in an op-ed in Roll Call earlier this month, Amtrak has announced significant track closures at New York Penn Station following recent train derailments and delays.

These closures will inevitably cause major disruptions for thousands of commuters, who are already burdened by a rail system on the brink.

Now is the time to build the infrastructure we need to grow our economy, keep Americans safe, and become more competitive.

This will require significant federal investment.

On May 15, as a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, I had an opportunity to join Amtrak representatives for a Portal Bridge site tour and a briefing about the condition of the New Jersey bridge.

When I spoke on the House floor the following day, I made it clear to my colleagues that replacement of the bridge is a key component of the Gateway Program, a comprehensive rail investment program to double rail capacity between New Jersey and New York City.

According to a recent study released by Amtrak, the Gateway Program could generate $3.87 worth of economic benefit for every $1 invested.

New Jersey and New York have agreed to contribute $750 million toward the estimated $1.5 billion cost for the Portal Bridge project, but the program will not be able to move forward without federal funding. The states are asking for help, and the federal government must answer.

Projects like Gateway — including the Portal Bridge project — must move forward. Reliable infrastructure is critical not only to regional and economic growth but also to the safety and functioning of our communities.

I will continue to use my position on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to demand that the Trump Administration and Congressional Republican leadership to join in building a 21st century infrastructure. And I will continue to support legislative efforts that provide meaningful solutions to our infrastructure problems.

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