(House of Representatives - December 03, 2015)

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[Pages H8988-H9000]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                         AND REFORM ACT OF 2015

  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 546, I call up 
the conference report on the bill (H.R. 22) to authorize funds for 
Federal-aid highways, highway safety programs, and transit programs, 
and for other purposes, and ask for its immediate consideration.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 546, the 
conference report is considered read.
  (For conference report and statement, see proceedings of the House of 
December 1, 2015, at page H8679.)
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. 
Shuster) and the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. DeFazio) each will control 
30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Pennsylvania.

                             General Leave

  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and 
include extraneous material on the conference report to accompany H.R. 
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I am very pleased that today the House is considering the conference 
report to H.R. 22, the Fixing America's Surface Transportation, or the 
  I believe this bill will be one of the most important things this 
Congress can accomplish for our country. This conference report is 
appropriately named the FAST Act for a few reasons.
  It will certainly help fix America's surface transportation 
infrastructure. The process has been fast. In fact, from the day of 
introduction until today is 44 days that we have moved this bill 
forward; so, it happened fast.
  I think some of our staff, who worked very hard in this process to 
help get this bill done, actually had to fast over the Thanksgiving 
holiday. So my thanks go out to staff on both sides of the aisle for 
working through the holiday as they did to get this bill put together 
and brought to the floor.
  Ranking Member DeFazio and I worked diligently with our House and 
Senate conferees to put together this conference report. I want to 
thank Mr. DeFazio for all his efforts.
  Before I describe the transportation provisions in the conference 
report, I do want to note that the conference report includes numerous 
other provisions that were in either the House- or the Senate-passed 
versions of the bill. These provisions are in the jurisdiction of the 
Committees on Ways and Means, Financial Services, Energy and Commerce, 
Natural Resources, and Judiciary.
  Mr. Speaker, since I became chairman, one of my top priorities has 
been to pass a long-term surface transportation reauthorization bill. 
For the last year and more, I have traveled across the country to talk 
to transportation and business leaders about the need for a 
reauthorization bill. What I have heard is that all States and 
communities have significant infrastructure needs and they all need 
long-term certainty to address them.
  The FAST Act represents a bipartisan and bicameral agreement to 
provide that certainty. This is the first time we have come together in 
a long-term bill in 10 years. It is fully paid for and reauthorizes 
Federal surface transportation programs for 5 years.
  It improves our Nation's infrastructure, including our roads, public 
transportation, and rail systems; reforms our Federal transportation 
programs; refocuses these programs on national priorities, including 
the flow of freight and commerce; provides greater flexibility for 
States and local governments to address our needs; streamlines the 
Federal bureaucracy and accelerates project delivery; promotes 
innovation to make our surface transportation system and programs work 
better; and maintains a strong commitment to highway, rail, and hazmat 
  This bill also includes robust reforms of Amtrak, which the House 
already passed overwhelmingly this year. It cuts waste, holds Amtrak 
accountable, and increases transparency. It enhances opportunities for 
competition on routes and increases private sector participation in 
station development and right-of-way leveraging. It gives States more 
power and control over their Amtrak routes.
  This legislation has wide support from throughout the stakeholder 
  The FAST Act invests in America, continues the essential Federal role 
in transportation, and helps keep our country economically competitive.
  I strongly urge all my colleagues to support this conference report.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 4 minutes.
  I want to thank the chairman and the chairman of the subcommittee for 
their tremendous cooperation and hard work.
  I certainly want to thank the staff, who spent the whole Thanksgiving 
break pulling this together and negotiating with the Senate, and I want 
to thank our colleagues in the Senate.
  We have something that is very rare in Washington, D.C., these days 
here on the floor of the House: a truly bipartisan approach to very 
real problems confronting our Nation.
  I have been to the floor many dozens of times to talk about our 
country falling apart, and I won't reiterate all those statistics again 
today. They are in the Record.
  But this is now 10 years and 3 months since Congress last passed a 
long-term bill. This 5-year bill will give States and local 
jurisdictions, cities, and counties the capability of dealing with 
bigger problems that confront our system of transportation.
  The series of short-term fixes we have had over the last 5 years and 

[[Page H8989]]

months, or the MAP-21 bill, did not give them the long-term certainty 
they needed.
  There is predictability in this bill. They know how much money they 
will be receiving, and the levels are higher than current expenditures.
  Sure, I think we should invest more, but the bill also contains a 
provision I championed that says, should a future Congress allocate 
more funds to Transportation and Infrastructure, that money will flow 
through the policies and the formulas in this bill with no further 
action required and no tampering by this or future Congress; i.e., it 
would be expedited and it would go right into the investments we need 
to put more people back to work.
  This will be the biggest jobs bill passed by this Congress. There is 
no way we can do more for the American economy than making these long-
term investments, putting hundreds of thousands of people to work 
rebuilding our critical infrastructure. It also doesn't just go to 
construction, design, engineering, and small business, as do highway 
contracts. It also has a major investment in transit.
  We increase the Buy America percent for transit vehicles to 70 
percent. So that will create more American jobs. There are many other 
critical things.
  We create for the first time--amazingly, for the first time, given 
the importance of our country--a major Federal freight program, an 
intermodal Federal freight program, that will help us be more 
competitive in the world economy and make major investments in more 
efficiently moving goods into our country and out of our country in 
accessing ports.
  It invests in workers with reforms of the workforce retraining 
program. It promotes local control. We are increasing the share that 
flows through to local jurisdictions. The chairman already addressed 
that. It invests in all modes. It preserves the existing split between 
transit and highways and includes alternate modes.
  It includes a new safety grant program to prevent bicycle and 
pedestrian deaths, which would go to local or State jurisdictions that 
put forward comprehensive plans that deal with that growing problem.
  It provides grants to States that come up with innovative future ways 
to fund transportation for them to experiment, laboratories around the 
country experimenting with vehicle miles traveled or other programs 
that could pave the way for future bills in terms of spending and 
investing in our infrastructure.
  It improves hazmat safety very significantly in this bill. It also 
invests in rail--Amtrak--and will help local communities who are 
dealing with passenger commuter rail implement positive train control.
  This is a true bipartisan product. I recommend a ``yes'' vote.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Missouri (Mr. Graves), the chairman of the Subcommittee on Highways and 
  Mr. GRAVES of Missouri. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in enthusiastic 
support for this conference report, which reauthorizes the surface 
transportation program for 5 years.
  Mr. Speaker, I would argue that few investments made by the Federal 
Government are more important than the ones we are discussing here 
today. We depend on a very well-run transportation network for just 
about everything we do in this country. Improving that system becomes 
more critical as we become more mobile as a society.
  In the immediate future, this conference report is going to allow 
States to plan and execute some much-needed infrastructure repair. In 
Missouri alone, long-term surface transportation reauthorization 
translates into improvements for 35,000 miles of highway and 10,000 
  Specifically, this conference report reforms the Federal Motor 
Carrier Safety Administration and increases transparency within its 
compliance, safety, and accountability program. These reforms will 
fundamentally change the way the agency analyzes and develops rules for 
the trucking industry.
  This is an industry that we all rely on as Americans, but Federal 
regulations continue to make it harder and harder for small and 
independent truckers to do business.
  The FAST Act also increases efficiency within high-cost construction 
programs. It uses existing funding to develop a new formula for highway 
freight projects and creates a competitive grant program for projects 
of national or regional importance.
  While this 5-year reauthorization is fully paid for, it doesn't 
address the long-term funding issues staring down the highway trust 
fund. That is why we directed research into more sustainable long-term 
funding sources, including a user-funded model that does more than just 
rely on the existing gas tax.
  But, looking ahead, this bill sets the stage for us to continue 
reshaping and rethinking America's transportation network. It will 
allow us to modernize roads and transit systems using innovations from 
the private sector. It is going to help us employ advances in 
technology and interconnectivity to improve safety on America's 
  Ultimately, this report guarantees that local governments are going 
to no longer be forced to operate off of one short-term extension after 
another. This gives the States the certainty and the funding they need 
to improve their roads, rebuild their bridges, and invest in their 
  I am proud of the bipartisan work that the House and the Senate have 
done to finalize this long-term Federal reauthorization. I would like 
to echo the words of the ranking member.
  This was a very bipartisan bill. Thanks to Ranking Member DeFazio, 
Chairman Shuster, and Ranking Member Norton, I think we did a fantastic 
job when it comes to putting the bill together. I look forward to 
seeing the President sign it.

                              {time}  1145

  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
the District of Columbia (Ms. Norton), the ranking member on the 
  Ms. NORTON. Mr. Speaker, the reputation of our committee is that we 
are the most bipartisan committee in the Congress, and I think we have 
shown it with this bill.
  I can't thank my partners enough--Mr. Graves you just heard from; 
Chairman Shuster; Mr. DeFazio, who is the ranking member; both good 
friends and, of course, the staff--for their countless hours, including 
missing Thanksgiving. I particularly thank the conference committee 
Members because this bill needed compromises on both sides if we were 
going to get it done this year, and that is what we have done.
  This bill was improved in conference in many ways. If you are in the 
States, you will probably say the most important way is that you are 
getting more funding than anticipated. There was a tradeoff, of course, 
because it is now a 5-year rather than a 6-year bill, and we needed the 
longest term bill we could get; but it does mean almost $13 billion 
more annually in funding for the States, and they were so starved for 
funds that, I believe, this 5-year tradeoff was most important for us 
and for them.
  The reason I have come to the floor with this chart is not to show 
you something about my own district, but because this chart is 
emblematic of what this bill will do for your district and for 
districts all over the United States. I chose it because one of my 
major projects is the H Street Bridge. I didn't just choose a bridge; I 
chose a bridge with intermodality at its vortex. This is the bridge 
that runs over Union Station. All you have to do is look at it, and you 
will see the trains; and there is freight beneath this bridge, and 
major freight is in this bill. You will see Amtrak. Across the H Street 
bridge itself runs inner-city buses, local buses, and streetcars.
  You see how transit is the key to development itself. So, if you 
don't get the transit done, if you don't get the infrastructure done 
for our bill, then other infrastructure which depends on it will not 
  We are trying to expand Union Station here. This bridge has to be 
done if they are to accomplish this. They are going to expand the Union 
Station concourse. This bill will allow the improvements in the 
Northeast corridor, which is so important to so many Members. In a real 
sense, this bridge and this poster tell the story of this bill.
  There were so many of my major priorities in this bill that I would 

[[Page H8990]]

like to say something about a couple of them.
  One is the way we are now trying to get a hold of the highway trust 
fund which is a trust fund in name only--the $15 million to $20 
million--that will allow for the States to experiment with new ideas. 
States are the only ones that are doing it, which is going to be 
absolutely necessary before the next long-term bill. We didn't have 
anything of the kind in MAP-21.
  Look what we had to do instead. We took money to pay for this bill, 
for example, from the Federal Reserve and from the strategic oil 
reserves, for the first time in history--that is the cutest one--
because oil is worth less than when it was used as an offset. We had to 
face down this highway trust fund, and that is why my major priority 
was new trust fund ideas.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Mrs. NAPOLITANO. I yield the gentlewoman an additional 30 seconds.
  Ms. NORTON. Finally, I want to say that I am very pleased that we 
worked together to get the Disadvantaged Business Enterprises provision 
done, and there is funding in this bill for a very important issue in 
our country for grants to address racial profiling.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Denham), the chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, 
Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials. The gentleman did a lot of work on 
the Amtrak bill, which made it into this final bill.
  Mr. DENHAM. Mr. Speaker, first of all, I appreciate the opportunity 
to have been a conferee on this important piece of legislation.
  This piece of legislation was a bipartisan effort between not only 
Republicans and Democrats in the House, but as a conferee who has been 
working between the House and the Senate, we have now culminated a 
number of different issues that, for years, we have had hearings on. 
Specifically, in the subcommittee that I chair--Railroads, Pipelines, 
and Hazardous Materials--we are dealing with passenger rail in this 
bill, with rail safety, and with hazardous material.
  Under the hazmat title of this bill, it contains many important 
provisions on crude-by-rail safety:
  First, we require all new tank cars carrying flammable liquids to 
actually have a thermal blanket and top fittings protection, which is 
something that the DOT failed to include in its rule;
  We also ensure that railroads provide States and local emergency 
responders with information on crude-by-rail shipments within their 
States. In my community, this is a huge issue for our first responders, 
who want to know exactly what is traveling through our community;
  We also include a provision that fixes a loophole that would have 
allowed more than 35,000 legacy DOT-111--these old tank cars--to 
actually remain in service.
  The rail title follows closely the PRRIA bill of 2015--the passenger 
rail reauthorization--which we passed out of this House in March of 
this year:
  In the bill, we reform Amtrak to actually run more like a business, 
ensuring that Northeast corridor profits get reinvested into the 
corridor and make Amtrak more accountable to the States;
  In the wake of the Philadelphia crash, we make a number of safety 
improvements, including having cameras in the locomotives. I will 
remind you that the purpose of this video footage is to assist crash 
investigators, which is something that would be important in 
Philadelphia. Let's make sure that this does not punish or retaliate 
against the employees.
  Separately, this bill includes reforms that I have long championed 
and have based on legislation that I have authored in committee, the 
NEPA Reciprocity Act. We need to eliminate the duplicative 
environmental reviews. It will save us millions of dollars and years in 
project delivery time while still ensuring that appropriate steps are 
taken to mitigate the environmental impact. In California, we have the 
California Environmental Quality Act. We want to make sure that we have 
a strong environmental policy. Let's just not waste years in 
duplication to get these projects done. Let's do them quickly. Let's do 
them efficiently. Let's save millions of dollars in the process.
  The bill also provides a much-needed boost in funding to fix our 
crumbling bridges in our communities. In my community, I continuously 
talk about the Seventh Street Bridge in Modesto. It is ridiculous that 
we have any bridges that are below satisfactory, but in this case, this 
bridge is rated 2 out of 100.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. SHUSTER. I yield the gentleman an additional 1 minute.
  Mr. DENHAM. It is so bad that we don't allow school buses on this. We 
have passenger cars as well as trucks--trucks that carry goods through 
Modesto and through our community--yet it is unsafe for school buses 
and our kids. This much-needed bridge funding will help us to fix many 
of these threats around our State and around the country.
  Finally, this legislation will codify pets on trains. For years now, 
pet owners have been able to take their pets on airplanes. I can go 
from California to D.C. with my dog; yet I can't take my small dog onto 
Amtrak. This now changes that. I know that it is a big deal for those 
who travel on trains frequently to be able to take their pets with 
  In conclusion, this is a great bipartisan, long-term highway bill, 
and I am excited that we are going to finally give certainty to our 
  Again, I thank the chairman, Mr. DeFazio, and Mr. Capuano--all who 
worked hard to make this a great bipartisan effort.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from 
California (Mrs. Napolitano).
  Mrs. NAPOLITANO. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the 
conference report on H.R. 22, the FAST Act. I do associate myself with 
the remarks of Chairman Shuster, of Ranking Member DeFazio, and, of 
course, of their extraordinary staffs, including mine, who have been 
very effective in working on this very bipartisan and very thorough 
  I have been honored to serve on the conference committee, thanks to 
Leader Pelosi's appointment. I especially thank our transportation 
stakeholders in my district--California, of course--for their input on 
the policies included in this bill, which will benefit not only 
California but many of our Nation's constituencies by improving their 
commutes, by enhancing the transportation of goods to market, and by 
increasing transportation safety and air quality.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. I yield the gentlewoman an additional 30 seconds.
  Mrs. NAPOLITANO. Those entities that really sent good, solid 
information to this committee were the San Gabriel Valley Council of 
Governments, the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership, the Alameda 
Corridor-East Construction Authority, the Foothill Transit, the Gold 
Line Foothill Transit Project, the Gateway Council of Governments, the 
Access Services of Los Angeles, the LA Metro, the Southern California 
Association of Governments, Caltrans, the California Department of 
Natural Resources, and the California Department of Labor.
  I ask my colleagues for their support, and I ask for an ``aye'' vote 
from all of us. This is a great bill thanks to their bipartisan 
  Mr. Speaker, I include for the Record a list of the items that were 
able to be included in the bill.

                         Overall Funding Levels

       The bill authorizes Highway, Transit and Railroad programs 
     at $305 billion over 5 years. $281 billion is directly funded 
     from revenues in the bill (aka ``contract authority 
     programs'') which is for highway programs and most transit 
     programs. This is $12.8 billion higher than the House passed 
     bill. This higher funding level was requested by California 
     transportation agencies including Caltrans, the Metropolitan 
     Planning Organizations (MPOs) and the California Councils of 
     Governments (COGs).
       $24 billion is authorized to be appropriated annually. The 
     programs needing appropriations are New Starts Transit 
     construction grants (which the larger California Transit 
     Agencies strongly support) and Amtrak passenger rail 
     investments (California has 3 of the top 5 Amtrak rail 

 Local Control--Increased Local Suballocation of Transportation Funding

       The bill increasie's the percentage of funds that flow 
     directly to local regions (instead of the State) within the 
     Surface Transportation Program (STP) from the current 50% to 

[[Page H8991]]

     (1% per year). This issue was supported by CAL COG and local 
     CA Transportation agencies.

                       Transit Funding Increases

       The bill provides $13 billion over 5 years for the state of 
     good repair transit formula program. These funds are 
     distributed to state and local governments for repairs and 
     upgrading of rail and bus rapid transit systems. This is a 
     20% increase over current funding. The bill provides $3.7 
     billion over 5 years for bus and bus facilities and sets 
     aside $1.5 billion for a competitive bus grant program. This 
     is a 75% increase over current funding. California Transit 
     agencies strongly supported increased transit funding.

                            Freight Programs

       The bill creates two funded freight programs. The first is 
     a Formula Freight program funded at $6.3 billion over 5 years 
     which is allocated to the states. The second is a Nationally 
     Significant Freight and Highway Projects Competitive grant 
     program funded at $4.5 billion over 5 years that state and 
     local governments can apply for.
       Creating these funded freight programs was a big priority 
     of California Transportation agencies including Caltrans, 
     California Association of Councils of Governments, League of 
     CA Cities, Metropolitan Transportation Commission of the SF 
     Bay Area, Southern California Association of Governments, San 
     Diego Area Association of Governments, L.A. Metro, and 
     Sacramento Area Council of Governments.
       In addition, language was included that many CA 
     Transportation agencies care about to make local 
     transportation agencies (such as JPA's) eligible recipients 
     of grant funds and to address local environmental impacts of 
     freight movement.

 Transportation Alternatives--bicycle, pedestrian, trails, safe routes 
                           to school projects

       The bill funds transportation alternatives at $835 million 
     per year in 2016 and 2017 and $850 million per year in 2018, 
     2019 and 2020, which is more than the House bill level of 
     $819 million per year. The bill gives Metropolitan Planning 
     Organization's (MPO) new flexibility to use up to 50% of this 
     funding for other Surface Transportation Eligible projects. 
     California transportation agencies, environmental 
     organizations, bike associations, and safe route to school 
     advocates strongly support this program.

                           TIFIA Loan Program

       The TIFIA loan program is funded at $275 million/year in 
     FY16 & 17 and $300 million/year in FY18, 19, 20. This is more 
     than the $200M/yr in the House bill. TIFIA is strongly 
     supported by many California transportation agencies 
     (especially those with local transportation funding sources 
     such as sales tax measures) because they can use the 
     government backed loans to expedite their projects and save 
     money in the long run.
       Language was included to allow unused TIFIA funds to go 
     back into TIFIA and to provide eligibility to Transit 
     Oriented Development projects. This language was also a 
     priority of CA transportation agencies.

                 Railway Highway Grade Crossing Program

       The bill maintains the current railway-highway grade 
     crossing program and increases funding by $5 million/year to 
     $245 million in FY20. California Transportation agencies, 
     including the Alameda Corridor East Construction Authority in 
     my district strongly support this program because safety 
     issues around highway rail grade crossings are a big concern 
     in our state.

                     Positive Train Control Grants

       The bill provides $199 million for positive train control 
     grants that commuter railroads can apply for. This was a big 
     priority of Metrolink as they are currently developing and 
     implementing positive train control safety systems.

            New Starts Transit Construction Project Changes

       The bill allows local transportation agencies to use 
     Surface Transportation Program funding as the local match for 
     New Starts. This was a priority of CA MPOs and CALTRANs 
     because the original House bill prohibited this flexibility 
     in funding.

                  Transit Workforce Training Programs

       The bill focuses transit workforce training programs on the 
     front line workforce (bus drivers, rail operators, mechanics, 
     etc.). The bill also focuses on career opportunities for 
     underepresented populations, including minorities, women, 
     veterans, low-income, and the disabled. This was a priority 
     of LA Metro and California Transit Unions.

                        Transit Operator Safety

       The bill requires DOT to perform a rulemaking on transit 
     operator safety to address the growing concern of violence 
     against transit workers. This was a priority of California 
     Transit Unions.

   Allowing Paratransit Coordinated Fare Structures to Continue--Los 
                          Angeles County Issue

       The bill allows Access Services paratransit provider of Los 
     Angeles County to continue using a tiered, distance-based 
     coordinated paratransit fare system. For over 20 years, 
     Access Services has had a DOT approved tiered fare structure 
     that averages all the fares of 44 transit agencies into 2 
     fares. For riders traveling under 20 miles the fare is $2.75 
     and for riders traveling over 20 miles the fare is $3.50 
     (these paratransit fares are dramatically lower than the rest 
     of the country). DOT was going to require Access Services to 
     change their fare structure by Jan. 1, 2016 based on 
     confusing formulas for each individualized trip a disabled 
     customer takes. 95% of the public comments from the ADA 
     community strongly opposed this change. This provision will 
     allow Access to continue operating with their current tiered 
     fare structure.

                              Buy America

       The bill increases the domestic content requirement for 
     buses and transit rail cars from 60% to 70%.

             Innovative Funding Alternatives Grant Program

       The bill creates a $15-$20 million/year grant program to 
     allow states to experiment with alternative transportation 
     user fees such as vehicle miles traveled taxes. California 
     would benefit from this program because we are implementing 
     one of the only alternative transportation user fee pilot 
     programs in the country.

     National Surface Transportation and Innovative Finance Bureau

       The bill creates a new Bureau within the office of the 
     Secretary to streamline the administration of the TIFIA and 
     RRIF loan programs, private activity bonds, and the new 
     freight program. California and Los Angeles County in 
     particular has been a large recipient of TIFIA and RRIF loans 
     but many agencies have complained at how long, burdensome, 
     and bureaucratic the process is. This Bureau will address 
     these concerns.

  Funding for Locally owned Bridges on the Federal-Aid Highway System

       The bill fixes a major concern Los Angeles County had with 
     the last transportation bill (MAP-21) which only allowed 
     bridges on the National Highway System to be funded by the 
     National Highway Performance Program. A lot of locally owned 
     bridges in California are on the federal-aid highway system 
     and previously received direct bridge funding but no longer 
     do because they are not on the National Highway System. This 
     bill allows all locally owned bridges on the federal-aid 
     highway system to be eligible for funding in the National 
     Highway Performance Program.

                      Park and Ride Relinquishment

       The bill allows states to relinquish ownership of park-and-
     ride lots to local governments if they wish. This was a big 
     priority for CALTRANs and local CA MPOs like LA Metro because 
     some local agencies would like to take ownership of state 
     park-and-rides in order to invest in them and improve their 
     performance within regional, multimodal transportation 

             HOV Degradation Standards Impact on California

       The bill allows for California or a local transportation 
     agency to apply for a waiver from the current HOV degradation 
     standard. It also requires the state or local agency to have 
     a plan to improve their HOV operations. Fixing problems with 
     how the current HOV degradation standard works in California 
     was a major priority of CALTRANs and local MPOs.
       The current HOV degradation standard requires HOV lanes to 
     maintain an average speed above 45 mph 90 percent of the time 
     during peak hours. This standard does not take into account 
     the specific transportation concerns of each state. The most 
     recent data indicates that 60 percent of California's HOV 
     network is degraded under the current federal standard, but 
     it also indicates that ``recurrent congestion'' is not a 
     primary source of degradation in California. Other variables 
     such as inclement weather, traffic incidents, or 
     unforeseeable nonrecurring congestion have a greater impact 
     on HOV lane performance in California. The point of the 
     federal standard is to address manageable traffic policy 
     which is recurrent congestion. Since degraded facilities must 
     be brought back into compliance under this federal law, the 
     high levels of degradation in our state will require scarce 
     resources to correct a problem that, in the majority of 
     cases, is relatively infrequent and unpredictable. This bill 
     allows the state to request a waiver from this unreasonable 

   Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program 
               Funding for local Transportation Projects

       The Conference Report continues to allow local California 
     Transportation agencies to fund transit, congestion 
     management, and bicycle/pedestrian projects with Congestion 
     Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program funds. The original 
     House and Senate bills contained provisions that local CA 
     transportation agencies strongly opposed that would have 
     restricted their ability to use CMAQ funds for actual 
     transportation projects.

       No Preemption of CA Meal and Rest Break Laws for Truckers

       The conference report does not include a provision from the 
     House bill that would have preempted state meal and rest 
     break laws as they apply to the trucking industry. The 
     original provision in the House bill was a direct attack on a 
     recent court decision in California that ruled that 
     California truck drivers were entitled to meal and rest 
     breaks under California labor law.
       The California Department of Labor and the California 
     Teamsters strongly opposed the original House bill provision.

 No Comprehensive Oil Spill Response Plan Section that was opposed by 

       The bill does not include Section 7011 of the original 
     House bill that required federal

[[Page H8992]]

     oil spill response plans for railroads. This section was 
     strongly opposed by the California Department of Natural 
     Resources because it would preempt state law and California's 
     ability to impose their own rail oil spill response plans.

                        Privatizing Engineering

       The bill does not include language requiring or 
     incentivizing states to outsource public engineering work. We 
     must continue to support states that hire public engineers in 
     order to protect the public interest.

        Nation-wide Truck Size and Weight Issues not in the bill

       The bill does not increase truck sizes with double 33s or 
     weights to 91,000lbs. (l.c. ``el''). There were attempts to 
     increase truck size and weights but they were strongly 
     opposed by CA Sheriffs Association, CA Peace Officers Assoc. 
     (PORAC), and CA highway safety groups.

                Port Performance included was a concern

       I am concerned that the bill includes a provision to 
     require the Bureau of Transportation Statistics to collect 
     data on port performance freight statistics at the nation's 
     top 25 ports. I am glad this provision was amended in 
     Conference to create a working group which includes labor 
     representatives and port representatives that will determine 
     how the port performance statistics program will be 

                           WIFIA FIX Included

       The Conference Report fixes a problem with the Water 
     Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan 
     program from WRRDA 14 that prohibited local water agencies 
     from combining tax exempt debt (i.e. municipal bonds) with 
     WIFIA loans. This Conference Report changes that and allows 
     water agencies to use municipal bonds (which are a major 
     source of their revenue) as the local match to federal 
     financing provided by the WIFIA. This fix to WIFIA was 
     strongly supported by CA water agencies including ACWA and 

  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Ohio (Mr. Gibbs), the chairman of the Subcommittee on Water Resources 
and Environment.
  Mr. GIBBS. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 22, Fixing 
America's Surface Transportation Act.
  I want to thank Chairman Shuster, Ranking Member DeFazio, Chairman 
Graves, Ranking Member Norton, and my colleagues on the committee for 
coming together to craft bipartisan legislation that provides States 
with the certainty they need with this 5-year bill, which will provide 
long-term infrastructure planning.
  The FAST Act builds on the reforms that we did in MAP-21 to ensure 
that projects are completed in a timely manner. I was pleased to see 
that a number of priorities that are important to my district have been 
included in this legislation, including that of reforming the broken 
Compliance, Safety, Accountability program, which ensures that motor 
carrier safety ratings are fair and accurate.
  As the subcommittee chairman on Water Resources and Environment, we 
worked to get a provision into WRRDA called WIFIA. In this bill, we put 
in a provision to allow WIFIA loans to be used in conjunction with tax-
exempt bonds to leverage private capital. This will help our 
infrastructure needs and clean water projects. This is an important 
loan guarantee program that is similar to TIFIA, which provides 
municipalities with additional funding for water infrastructure 
projects. This will complement programs like the Clean Water SRF 
  I urge the support of this bipartisan legislation, which provides 
certainty and makes a good investment to provide transportation in 
order to move commerce and people in the future.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from New 
York (Mr. Nadler).
  Mr. NADLER. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the FAST Act, which authorizes $305 
billion over 5 years for highways, transit, and rail, including Amtrak. 
Although many of us would have preferred much higher funding levels, 
the conference agreement provides an increase in funding of $12.8 
billion above the House bill and $26.8 billion in guaranteed funding 
above fiscal year 2015 levels. The funding increase allows us to 
preserve core highway and transit programs and to still invest in new 
key areas.
  New York State will get an additional $1.5 billion above current 
levels in highway and transit formula funding over the life of the 
bill, of which an estimated $500 million will go to projects in New 
York City.
  The bill provides $4.5 billion for the new freight program, 
originally created in the House bill for large-scale, multimodal 
projects that are critical to our regional and national economy. This 
was a key recommendation of the freight panel on which I was the 
ranking member, along with Mr. Duncan as chairman, and I am very proud 
that it is included in the final conference report.
  The bill increases funding for transit, including the major programs 
that benefit New York, such as section 5340--High-Density States 
program, the State of Good Repair program, and capital investment 
grants, and it preserves the ability to flex other transportation 
funding toward major transit projects.
  I am mostly pleased that the conference report authorizes $10.2 
billion over 5 years for intercity passenger rail, including $8 billion 
for Amtrak; dedicates resources for Northeast corridor improvements; 
and provides $200 million to help commuter railroads implement positive 
train control. It also increases the liability limit on rail passenger 
accidents to $295 million, retroactively, to help cover claims for 
those killed or injured in the Amtrak derailment outside of 
Pennsylvania last May.
  I commend Chairman Shuster, Ranking Member DeFazio, and my fellow 
conferees for all of their hard work in finally bringing a long-term 
transportation bill to fruition. It has been too long. I am glad we 
finally did it. I urge all of my colleagues to vote for this conference 
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the Transportation Conference 
Report, now called the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) 
Act of 2015. I want to thank Chairman Shuster, and Ranking Member 
DeFazio, for developing a bipartisan bill that we can all be proud to 
  The Conference Report authorizes $305 billion over five years for 
highways, transit and rail, including Amtrak. Although many of us would 
have preferred higher funding levels closer to the Administration's 
GROW America Act, the conference agreement provides an increase in 
funding of $12.8 billion above the House bill and $26.8 billion in 
guaranteed funding above FY15. Every state will get an increase in 
transportation funding. New York State will get an additional $1.5 
billion above current levels in highway and transit formula funding 
over the life of the bill, of which an estimated additional $500 
million will go to projects in New York City. The funding increase 
allows us to preserve these core programs, and still invest in new key 
  The bill provides $4.5 billion for the new freight program, 
originally created in the House bill, for large scale multimodal 
projects critical to our regional and national economy. This was a key 
recommendation of the Freight Panel that I co-chaired with Mr. Duncan, 
and I am very proud that it is included in the final Conference Report.
  For over a decade, we have made various attempts to address major 
freight projects that are too big or complex for states to address on 
their own. The PNRS program that we created in SAFETEA-LU was meant to 
address such projects, but was divvied up into many, relatively small, 
earmarks. In MAP-21, the PNRS program was reauthorized, but subject to 
appropriations, and never received any funding. This bill finally gets 
it right, and provides guaranteed, dedicated funding to address goods 
movement throughout the country.
  In addition to the grant program for large multimodal projects, the 
bill includes a new freight formula program to the States passed as 
part of the Senate bill, and it requires strategic planning at the 
state and federal level. All of these programs together will bring 
about unprecedented resources to fund freight projects that are long 
overdue and critical to our economy. It is a ground breaking 
achievement, and one of the things that sets this bill apart from its 
  The bill increases funding for transit, including all the major 
programs that benefit New York. The Conference Report not only 
restores, but increases, funding for the High Density State program 
under Section 5340 that provides approximately $100 million for transit 
projects all across New York State. The bill includes a 20% increase in 
funding for the State of Good Repair program, and it increases funding 
for Capital Investment Grants.
  The conference report does not include language restricting the 
ability of transit agencies to use other transportation programs, such 
as CMAQ and TIFIA, to fill the gap in federal funding for transit New 
Starts, which Mr. Lipinski and I fought against in the House bill. The 
bill maintains the historic 80/20 split between highway and transit 
funding, and it provides enough finding to create a robust Bus & Bus 
Facilities grant program that will benefit all fifty states while 
dedicating resources to the programs upon which our urban centers rely.

[[Page H8993]]

  I am also pleased that the Conference Report authorizes $10.2 billion 
over five years for intercity passenger rail, including $8 billion for 
Amtrak, and dedicates resources for improvements along the Northeast 
Corridor. The bill includes language to help the Gateway project 
compete for future funding, and it authorizes a new consolidated grant 
program to help railroads make safety and reliability improvements. 
Additionally, the bill dedicates $200 million to help commuter 
railroads implement Positive Train Control, and it increases the 
liability limit on rail passenger accidents to $295 million 
retroactively to help cover claims for those killed or injured in the 
Amtrak derailment outside of Philadelphia in May of this year.
  Overall, this is a balanced bill that will provide certainty and 
reliability for transportation agencies over the next five years. It 
would have been my preference to provide significantly more funding to 
address the major backlog of investment needs on our roads, bridges, 
transit and rail, but given the political reality this Conference 
Report is something we can all be proud to support. It increases 
funding for core programs, addresses new critical areas, and although 
it includes a few objectionable provisions, it is generally free of 
major poison pills.
  I commend Chairman Shuster, Ranking Member DeFazio, and my fellow 
conferees, for all their hard work in finally bringing a long term 
transportation bill to fruition. I urge all my colleagues to vote for 
this Conference Report.
  Thank you.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Arizona (Mr. Franks).
  Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise to express concerns regarding a particular 
provision in the bill before us today. The provision in question 
retroactively increases a Federal statutory cap on liability to cover 
one railway accident that occurred earlier this year.

                              {time}  1200

  Mr. Speaker, retroactive legislation is not always unconstitutional, 
but it is clearly disfavored. The Supreme Court outlined in a case 
called Eastern Enterprises v. Apfel, and I quote:
  ``Retroactivity is generally disfavored in the law, in accordance 
with the `fundamental notions of justice' that have been recognized 
throughout history. In his `Commentaries on the Constitution,' Justice 
Story reasoned: `Retrospective laws are indeed generally unjust; and, 
as has been forcibly said, neither accord with sound legislation nor 
with the fundamental principles of the social compact.' ''
  Mr. Speaker, while recognizing that retroactive legislation is 
constitutional in some instances--limited instances, I might add--none 
of those instances would clearly appear to apply to the provision in 
  The Supreme Court further stated, ``Our decisions .  .  . have left 
open the possibility that legislation might be unconstitutional if it 
imposes severe retroactive liability on a limited class of parties that 
could not have anticipated the liability, and the extent of that 
liability is substantially disproportionate to the parties' 
  In the case of the provision in question in the bill before us today, 
the retroactivity imposes severe increases in liability--almost a 50-
percent increase, in this case--on a limited class of parties who could 
not have anticipated that liability.
  While I support reasonable compensation for those who have been done 
legal injury, I am concerned that this particular provision may not 
pass constitutional muster. For that reason, I would register my 
  Mr. DeFAZIO. I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. 
  Mr. LIPINSKI. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the FAST Act, which 
will create jobs, boost the economy, ease congestion on our roads and 
rails, and improve our quality of life.
  I want to thank Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio for 
producing this bill and thank them for working with me in committee, on 
the House floor, and on the conference committee to make this bill 
  Recommendations made by our Freight Panel, led by Chairman Duncan and 
Ranking Member Nadler last Congress, led to new provisions that will 
improve the efficiency of freight movement and ease congestion on our 
roads and rails. This is critical for our Nation's freight hub in 
northeastern Illinois as we continue the CREATE rail program and other 
large freight projects.
  The bill includes revisions I authored to create Buy America content, 
deploy zero-emission buses, and improve tank car safety standards, 
which will produce more American jobs, protect the environment, and 
improve community safety.
  The FAST Act will also improve public transit and active 
transportation infrastructure and safety. Commuter rail safety will be 
increased through PTC grants, and this bill prepares us for the future 
by including research provisions from my FUTURE TRIP Act.
  I would like to thank Science, Space, and Technology Committee 
Chairman Smith for working with me on this. Thanks, finally, to my 
staff--Andrew Davis, Jason Day, Eric Lausten, and Shawn Kimmel--and all 
the committee staff for their work on this bill.
  We have more work to do. This bill will not solve all of our 
transportation problems, but this bill is a big step forward for jobs 
and for surface transportation in our Nation.
  I urge my colleagues to approve this conference report.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Nevada (Mr. Hardy), a hardworking member of the committee.
  Mr. HARDY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman and ranking member for 
all their hard work.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today to address the long-term nature of this 
highway bill.
  After 35-plus extensions, the upper and lower Chambers of Congress 
are sending the President a 5-year highway bill. I want you to think 
about that. We haven't had legislation this long that provided 
certainty and confidence to our States in over 10 years.
  Before coming to Congress, I was a general engineering contractor. I 
built those highways, roads, bridges, and dams. I also previously 
served on the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, 
and I know what it takes to invest in infrastructure.
  I will be honest. These short-term patches would have been a 
disservice to our States and our districts. They need long-term 
certainty to build a master plan for the future.
  Many may not understand the aspects of what it takes to actually 
build infrastructure in our Nation. It is not all about just going out 
and investing a dollar and going and building a highway, a railroad, or 
other infrastructure. It takes a lot to go through the NEPA process and 
the engineering processes before you can even get to the point where 
you can turn a shovel of dirt.
  So we need to make sure that we find other funding mechanisms for the 
future. We need to start today and recognize that we need to plan for 
the future and invest in this country so it has quality infrastructure 
for our safety and the needs of this country.
  While the funding mechanisms are not perfect, we are moving in the 
right direction and putting our Nation back on the path to prosperity. 
That is why I proudly stand here today as a conferee to support this 
long-term funding bill.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. 
  Ms. BROWN of Florida. Mr. Speaker, this certainly is a great day for 
the people in this country, and I want to thank the leadership on this 
  I believe wholeheartedly that this surface transportation bill will 
give the economy just the type of boost it needs. A long-term 
transportation bill will strengthen our infrastructure, provide quality 
jobs, and serve as a tool to put America back to work long-term.
  This important legislation includes a critical freight grant program, 
additional funding for transit systems and pedestrian safety program, 
includes funds to speed the implementation of positive train control, 
improves the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing loan 
program, and creates a disadvantaged business enterprise program at the 
Federal Railroad Administration.
  It also includes additional funds for Amtrak, moves us closer to 
restoring passenger rail for the Gulf States, and protects our ports 
from unnecessary paperwork.

[[Page H8994]]

  Transportation and infrastructure funding is absolutely critical to 
this Nation. If properly funded, it serves as a tremendous economic 
boost. For every billion dollars we spend in transportation, it 
generates 44,000 permanent jobs. When we pass this legislation, we will 
put millions of hardworking Americans back to work to fix our Nation's 
crumbling infrastructure and prepare our country for the future.
  Mr. Speaker, there is no better present for the people in this 
country than to pass this transportation bill.
  Merry Christmas, and God bless America.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Illinois (Mr. Rodney Davis), a hardworking member of the committee.
  Mr. RODNEY DAVIS of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, article I, section 8 of 
the U.S. Constitution grants this body the power to regulate commerce 
with foreign nations and among the several States as well as the power 
to establish post offices and post roads.
  Maintaining and improving our Nation's infrastructure is an important 
constitutional responsibility that we, as Members of this body, have, 
which is exactly why I told voters what I wanted to do when I came to 
Washington was to work together in a bipartisan fashion to address 
issues just like this transportation bill is going to address.
  What does this bill mean to the voters in central Illinois who sent 
me here? It means about 80 percent of all of the road projects that are 
funded in my State of Illinois are funded by Federal dollars.
  The vision that has been laid out in this bill--and we could argue 
about the pay-fors, whether they are not perfect. But we can also show 
the American people that we can work together to rebuild our Nation's 
crumbling infrastructure.
  I am confident that as soon as this bill passes overwhelmingly today, 
under the leadership of Chairman Shuster, he will begin debating how we 
move into the future in our next transportation bill. That is what is 
great about service on this committee.
  I want to commend Chairman Shuster, Chairman Graves, Ranking Member 
DeFazio, and all the hardworking members of this committee who put a 
great bill together.
  Everybody has stood up and said it is not perfect, but no bill that 
comes out of this institution is perfect. We don't always get 
everything we want, Mr. Speaker. But what we get is a long-term plan 
that is allowing our States to continue to plan and rebuild our roads 
and bridges.
  I also want to thank Chairman Shuster because he helped new leaders 
on our committee become leaders in transportation. I want to talk about 
Cresent Hardy, who just spoke a few minutes ago. He was able to show 
his constituents that he is able to lead on transportation issues and 
work together to get things done.
  John Katko, Garret Graves--these are new members of the committee 
that are able to go back to their constituents and show governing and 
bipartisan success.
  This is what we came here to address, Mr. Speaker.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. 
Hoyer), the minority whip.
  Mr. HOYER. I want to congratulate both Mr. Shuster and Mr. DeFazio 
for their work on this bill. I want to thank the Senate, as well, for 
their work and their leadership.
  This is a good week, in many respects. We passed yesterday, on an 
overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, a bill to make sure that our education 
system works better. Today, we will pass, by an overwhelmingly 
bipartisan vote, a bill to give more stability and investment to our 
infrastructure in America. Those are good things.
  I lament the fact that, although the previous speaker talked about a 
sound, long-term fiscal path for infrastructure investment, my own view 
is we don't do that. We do better than what is but not what we ought to 
  My own view is that we need to dedicate the user fee we call the 
gasoline tax at a level which has not been raised since 1993 to a level 
that will in fact put us on a path to fiscal stability and certainty 
for our infrastructure package.
  But this is a good package, and I want to thank my friend Bill 
Shuster for his leadership. Very frankly, that was critical to getting 
us to this point, not only on his side on the aisle but on our side of 
the aisle as well. And I want to thank Mr. DeFazio.
  As has been said, this is not a perfect reauthorization. We ought to 
stop saying that because nothing we pass is perfect. What we hope for 
is the good, and this is good. It is a compromise. All these efforts 
are critical to creating the kind of environment that encourage 
private-sector development and job growth.
  At the same time, I am very pleased that a wide majority of Members, 
nearly every Democrat and most Republicans, worked together to ensure 
that this conference report includes a multiyear reauthorization of the 
Export-Import Bank, supported by a majority of Republicans and all but 
one Democrat.
  It is unfortunate that Congress, through inaction by the Congress, 
allowed the Ex-Im Bank to shut down in July. Now, it didn't actually 
shut down, but it had no authority to guarantee loans, which cost us 
  We are changing that policy in this bill. Today, we are coming 
together to reopen it so that it can help American businesses and 
workers compete on a level playing field in overseas markets.
  During the time the Bank was shut down, businesses began shifting 
jobs overseas and others refrained from investing here because of the 
uncertainty over whether it would reopen. Today, that certainty will be 
  To that extent, the Export-Import Bank is in the same position that 
Governors and mayors and county executives all over this country will 
be put in by this bill, giving them some degree of certainty that there 
will be a cash flow for infrastructure projects, bridges, roads, and 
other transportation items.
  I want to thank again Ranking Member Maxine Waters for her work on 
the Export-Import Bank and Denny Heck and Gwen Moore for their work 
that led to this provision in the transportation bill.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. I yield an additional 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
  Mr. HOYER. I also want to thank, who showed great courage and great 
leadership, Stephen Fincher of Tennessee and Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, 
my Republican colleagues, without whom this Export-Import Bank 
provision would not be in this bill. I congratulate them for their 
courage and their leadership.
  I thank again Peter DeFazio and Bill Shuster.
  This is a good day for our country. This is a bipartisan day for this 
Congress. And I urge my colleagues to support this product.

                              {time}  1215

  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
California (Mrs. Mimi Walters), one of the newest members of our 
  Mrs. MIMI WALTERS of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support 
of the conference report for the FAST Act.
  As a member of the House Committee on Transportation and 
Infrastructure, I am pleased this bill reflects the committee's hard 
work. This legislation makes a fundamental investment in our Nation's 
roads, bridges, and infrastructure, providing long-term certainty for 
local governments and ensuring the efficient movement of consumer 
  Importantly, it also streamlines the environmental review and 
permitting processes to ensure transportation projects stay on time and 
on budget.
  I was pleased that three provisions of significance to my district 
were included in the final bill. One directs Department of 
Transportation to study the effects of marijuana-impaired driving. The 
second would incentivize the use of innovative pavement material. The 
third would help address congestion in HOV lanes.
  This 5-year bill is fully paid for and will put a stop to short-term 
extensions that are costly to taxpayers and create significant 
uncertainty for local and State governments.
  I am pleased to support this historic bill coming before the House 
floor today, and I thank Chairman Shuster for his hard work in making 
this bill a reality.

[[Page H8995]]


  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
Florida (Ms. Frankel).
  Ms. FRANKEL of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the FAST 
Act, our first long-term surface transportation bill in nearly 10 
  I want to thank Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio for their 
bipartisan leadership. It has truly been an honor to work on a 
committee where we can show the American people that we know how to 
work together.
  Mr. Speaker, transportation moves our economy. Passing the FAST Act 
will shift America's infrastructure into higher gear. This legislation 
brings American families tens of thousands of new good-paying jobs 
while promoting safer, more efficient travel on our transportation 
infrastructure. It sends more dollars to our local communities, who 
know their needs best.
  I will associate myself with the remarks of my colleague 
Representative Brown when I say that this is a wonderful gift to the 
American people for this holiday season.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Pennsylvania (Mr. Marino).
  Mr. MARINO. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Chairman Shuster and Ranking 
Member DeFazio for their work and express my appreciation for the 
opportunity to serve as a conferee.
  There are several significant items in this bill that fall within the 
jurisdiction of the Committee on the Judiciary.
  Chairman Goodlatte and I were also deeply involved in another part of 
this important bill: efforts to enact meaningful and effective permit 
streamlining reforms. Enacting legislation to streamline the Federal 
permitting process has been among my primary goals.
  The RAPID Act, my bill to improve and review permitting timelines, 
has passed this House on three occasions on a bipartisan basis. Our 
goal has been to fix the flaws in our Federal permitting process that 
too often doom projects, leaving millions of jobs and hundreds of 
millions of dollars in economic activity on a bureaucrat's desk.
  This year, we worked with our colleagues Senators Portman and 
McCaskill on this important project. The amendment we offered on the 
floor during House consideration of this measure represented a 
carefully crafted compromise that further achieves these goals. It was 
the product of a bipartisan cooperation, and I am proud that these 
provisions were included in the conference report we are considering 
  This conference report is an example of the many ways that we can 
reach across the aisle to find solutions to problems facing us. Our 
priorities will make lasting reforms that are sure to improve our 
infrastructure and strengthen our economy. I am glad they will be made 
law through the enactment of this conference report.
  This 5-year bill establishes certainty, stability, confidence, and, 
most importantly, trust. I am a States' rights guy, and the less 
Federal Government in my life, the better. Congress has removed 
obstacles for the States, who know best what is needed for their 
infrastructure. We must continue to remove impediments for our States 
to move into the 21st century without job-crushing regulations.
  Please support this bill. This bill will improve the quality of life 
for all Americans.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, may I inquire as to the time remaining on 
both sides.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Oregon has 10\1/2\ 
minutes remaining. The gentleman from Pennsylvania has 8 minutes 
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Minnesota (Mr. Nolan), a member of the committee.
  Mr. NOLAN. Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by getting the 
attention of our chairman over there and thanking him for the terrific 
job that he did, as well as our ranking member, Mr. DeFazio. It was a 
real treat. It was, for me, a take-back to an earlier time when regular 
order prevailed around this place.
  Quite frankly, that is how you fix things and get things done. It is 
not always just a matter of attitude; it can be a matter of process. 
When you have a chair and a ranking member that welcome all members to 
bring their ideas before the committee, to have an opportunity to have 
them discussed, examined, argued, and debated, that is how you bring 
people together. That is how you fix things. That is how you get things 
  I would also be remiss if I didn't thank the staff, both the 
Republican and Democratic staff. You all worked so hard and late into 
the night and long hours, day after day, getting us to this point. I 
thank my own staff assistant, Eddie Wytkind, in particular, for the 
work that he has done on this.

  With regard to the bill itself, you know, finally, after kicking this 
can down the road some 34, 35 times, we finally have the kind of long-
term surface transportation legislation that people in this country 
have been crying for and begging for so that we could begin fixing the 
roads and the bridges that are falling down and the trains that have 
been coming off the tracks.
  It is a good, nonpartisan piece of legislation that will allow our 
States, our counties, and our cities to plan accordingly. Of course, 
that brings with it greater efficiency.
  It will put a lot of people back to work. Everyone has told us that 
infrastructure, transportation is fundamental to our ability to grow 
jobs, to grow our economy, and to strengthen business opportunities.
  I am particularly grateful for our Duluth amendment that solves a 
particular little problem, but an important one, that we have there 
with regard to logging trucks on our Main Street.
  Last but not least, I want to commend the leadership for including 
the reauthorization of Ex-Im Bank with this. As we all know, it is a 
great banking institution that helps us reduce the deficit and creates 
jobs throughout the country, including the Eighth District of 
  Thank you to all who were a part of moving this important legislation 
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from 
Louisiana (Mr. Graves).
  Mr. GRAVES of Louisiana. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to 
be here today.
  This is a historic event. For 10 years now, we have been doing 
patches and temporarily providing funding for our roadways. It costs 
taxpayers money to do that, to do these temporary extensions, to 
compartmentalize the funding. You have to take projects, and you have 
to separate them into smaller pieces. You have to pay for contractors 
to come out and to leave and to come back again. I will say it again: 
It costs taxpayers money to continue to do these patches and these 
temporary extensions.
  This is historic because it provides 5 years of funding. It provides 
funding certainty.
  Having run a large-scale infrastructure program for a number of 
years, I am well aware of the difficulty caused by doing these 
temporary patches and the increased cost. I will tell you, I think it 
results in less safe roads. It absolutely doesn't deliver what 
taxpayers deserve.
  The other great thing about this bill and a reason that it is 
historic is that it is bipartisan, something that has been lacking for 
some time now, to see that Members on both sides come together on 
something as important as infrastructure funding.
  I want to thank Chairman Shuster, I want to thank Ranking Member 
DeFazio, respective staff directors Chris and Kathy, and everyone who 
worked on this bill on the conference staff. I know you put in a lot of 
time and you gave up your Thanksgiving. I want to thank you very much 
for all the work that has been done.
  This bill also increases funding for transportation. It results in 
nearly a 10-percent increase in investment in infrastructure. In the 
case of Louisiana, we will see a $100 million increase in the fifth 
year of this bill--a $100 million increase just in that one year as 
compared to current funding levels. We need these funds.
  Something else important in this bill is the grant program that was 
established in the House bill for nationally significant corridors, for 
freight corridors, $800 million to $1 billion a year to address these 
large-scale infrastructure needs that have not been addressed.

[[Page H8996]]

  In the case of my home State of Louisiana, we are in dire need of a 
new crossing on the Mississippi River. Getting across that 
extraordinary bottleneck, where the interstate drops down to one lane--
the only place in the United States--is a great need that we have. It 
causes incredible traffic problems.
  Addressing roads that need to be upgraded, like LA 1, Highway 30, 
connecting Walker to Gonzales, addressing a Pecue Lane exit, upgrading 
Highway 90 to interstate standards--projects that are in dire need and 
cause national implications because of their inability to efficiently 
move commerce across this country, Louisiana being one of the top 
export States in the United States.
  This bill also ensures that the roads are safer, ensures that we 
address at-grade rail crossings, ensures that we have the right safety 
mechanisms in place to ensure that we are not going to have fatalities 
associated with driving and traffic accidents.
  Importantly, this bill addresses technology. Mr. Speaker, we are 
still using traffic light technology from the 1920s. It is 2015. We can 
actually do on our telephones what took mainframe computers decades 
  This bill establishes a framework to ensure that innovation, to 
ensure that competition is actually integrated into our traffic 
management systems so we are not sitting around at traffic lights when 
no other cars are there, to ensure that our cars can communicate with 
one another, our phones can communicate with traffic lights, where we 
can really take intelligent transportation systems to the next level.
  It expedites the NEPA and environmental review process to ensure that 
we are getting dirt turned and getting roads in place as soon as 
possible while still respecting the environment.
  It, importantly, includes something that we were pushing very hard, 
the Sport Fish Restoration and the Boating Safety Act, ensuring that 
boat safety, ensuring that sport fish and restoration, ensuring that 
the CWPPRA program continues to move forward and we have those 
important restoration activities.
  Lastly, Mr. Speaker, I just want to say I appreciated very much the 
opportunity to be a conferee. This is a historic bill. And I want to 
urge: Increased funding, safer roads--this is the right direction for 
this country. Support this conference report.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from 
California (Mrs. Capps).
  Mrs. CAPPS. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Oregon for 
  The bipartisan highway conference compromise before us is just that, 
a compromise. But, despite its faults, I will support it.
  While this bill adequately funds our Nation's long-term highway 
infrastructure needs, which our communities desperately need, it does 
fall short of making the robust long-term investments our crumbling 
infrastructure truly needs.
  I am pleased the bill does take an important step to protect 
consumers by prohibiting companies from renting or loaning out 
dangerously recalled vehicles for the first time. I have spearheaded 
this effort for years in honor of Raechel and Jacqueline Houck, two 
young sisters who were killed by their rented vehicle that was under 
  To be clear, this is an important step for consumer safety. But I am 
disappointed that, during conference, companies with fewer than 35 
rental or loaner vehicles were exempted. Unfortunately, by our bowing 
to special interests, some consumers will still be at risk.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, I yield the gentlewoman an additional 30 
  Mrs. CAPPS. However, we will continue to build on the important step 
of holding large rental companies and auto dealers accountable until, 
one day, all Americans can be confident that the cars that they drive 
are safe. This is our goal: that all rental cars be safe for their 
drivers to engage in as they rent them.

                              {time}  1230

  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I have already thanked the committee staff. They did do 
a fabulous job.
  I also want to recognize others who were involved: the Senate staff 
of the Committee on Environment and Public Works; the Committee on 
Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; the Committee on Commerce, 
Science, and Transportation; and the Committee on Finance.
  Over here, we are a little more consolidated when we deal with these 
issues. The Senate is a little more spread out, but that is the Senate. 
They were all involved and all a critical part of this product.
  I also want to thank some others, beyond committee staff. The House 
Legislative Counsel, led by Curt Haensel, has provided a tremendous 
assistance in the drafting of this very extensive legislation, as well 
as the staff of the U.S. Department of Transportation, particularly the 
Federal Highway Administration.
  Curt Haensel and Carolyn Edwards of FHWA have been involved in every 
surface transportation bill since the nineties, and their expertise was 
invaluable. We come up with policy ideas, but they have to figure out a 
way to lay down the legislative language so that we accomplish those 
goals. So they did great work.
  Mr. Speaker, this is, as many have said, historic for this Congress 
and recent Congresses in terms of the bipartisan nature of it and the 
fact that we are putting in place long-term assurances for major 
investments that our country needs for our transportation 
infrastructure. But it is a starting point. This is not the end.
  It provides certainty and modest funding increases for the next 5 
years, but it does not even rise to the level of assuring that our 
transportation infrastructure 5 years from today will be in a better 
state of repair than it is now.
  There are tremendous unmet needs out there. This will help, but it is 
not the overall solution. Numerous times we have moved money from the 
general fund into the highway trust fund. We are again engaging in that 
activity here. The total, at this point, is $145 billion.
  I don't resent moving general fund money, but I think there are 
better ways and more certain ways and more robust ways to finance the 
future of our investments in infrastructure.
  So we can say today we are celebrating, as we should, but there is 
more work to do. Next week, we should begin anew and recognize that we 
have to work together--Democrats and Republicans, truckers, transit 
agency, builders, and shippers--to find a way to restore the user fee 
mechanism to finance these investments.
  President Eisenhower is often credited with establishing the 
Interstate Highway System, which now bears his name. Actually, Congress 
designated the system in the forties, but it was not until 1956 that 
Congress, with then-President Eisenhower, developed a user fee system 
to actually construct our incredible interstate system.
  So we need to work together to renew the mandate and find a path 
forward for long-term, sustainable funding for these critical 
investments. Celebrate today, but it is back to work tomorrow.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  In my closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my 
House colleagues on both sides of the aisle, members of the committee, 
and the conferees.
  There was broad, bipartisan support of this bill. There are over 250 
Members of this House that contributed to the bill. Working together on 
this important piece of legislation I think proves to the American 
people that we can get big things done.
  I would also like to thank Mr. DeFazio. He has been a real partner in 
this. We certainly had our moments of disagreement, but we were able to 
work through it and get a bill which he and I say is a good, solid 
piece of legislation. And, through that effort, we were able to achieve 
  I also want to thank Chairman Graves and Ranking Member Norton for 
their hard work and support in this effort.
  I want to thank the vice chair of the full committee, Mr. Duncan, who

[[Page H8997]]

chaired two important panels last Congress, one on freight movement and 
one on public-private partnerships. From that work with a cross-section 
of the committee and across jurisdictional lines of the subcommittees, 
they were able to produce recommendations that became critical parts of 
this bill. So I thank Congressman Duncan from Tennessee for his work.
  Finally, I thank the Speaker of the House. In becoming Speaker, he 
told the Conference and our House he was going to make sure we did 
regular order. This bill is a product of regular order. He had an open 
process on the House floor. We dealt with over 103 amendments specific 
to the transportation portion of the bill but then another 20 or so 
that dealt with provisions in this bill.
  So it was an open process, and, again, I want to thank Speaker Ryan 
for keeping his word to the Members of this body to have regular order 
and an open process.
  I also want to thank my Senate colleagues and their conferees for 
their efforts in putting together this bill.
  I want to thank the House and Senate Legislative Counsel, who don't 
often get a whole lot of credit, but I thank Curt Haensel, Tom Dillon, 
Rosemary Gallagher, Karen Anderson, and Tim Brown, for their efforts in 
writing up this bill and helping us throughout this process.
  Finally, I want to thank the staffs of both the majority and minority 
of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. As I said in the 
opening remarks, they worked through the Thanksgiving holiday, a lot of 
long hours, and they are dedicated to the work of this committee. We 
wouldn't be here today without their efforts. I thank them from the 
bottom of my heart for their efforts.
  I will include in the Record the names of those committee staff 
people because it is a long list and I don't want to screw anybody's 
name up. I just want to say thanks again for their long hours in 
getting this bill put together and brought to the floor.

           Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Staff

                          Republican T&I Staff

       Chris Bertram, Matt Sturges, Jennifer Hall, Murphie 
     Barrett, Geoff Gosselin, Mary Phillips, Alex Etchen, Caryn 
     Moore Lund, Nicole Christus, Kristin Alcalde, Jim Billimoria, 
     Clare Doherty, Keith Hall, Justin Harclerode, Holly Woodruff 
     Lyons, Hannah Matesic, Collin McCune, Tracy Mosebey, Anna 
     Oak, Max Rosen.
       Beth Spivey, David Connolly, Arielle Giordano, Fred Miller, 
     George Riccardo, Adam Twardzik, Kevin Rieg, Isabelle Beegle-

                           Democrat T&I Staff

       Liz Cooney, Kathy Dedrick, Jen Gilbreath, Ashley Guill, 
     Russ Kelley, Ward McCarragher, Ben Lockshin, Auke Mahar-
     Piersma, Andrew Okuyiga, Luke Strimer, Helena Zyblikewycz, 
     Ryan Sieger, Jennifer Homendy, Alexa Old Crow.

  Mr. SHUSTER. The FAST Act is absolutely critical to America and our 
economy. I think everybody speaking here today laid out the many 
provisions. It is important to America.
  I would encourage my colleagues to all support this bipartisan, 
bicameral agreement. And I believe it will have strong support today.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge everybody to vote for this bill. It is good for 

  Joint Explanatory Statement of the Committee on Conference H.R. 22, 
              Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act

       Title XLIII of the Joint Explanatory Statement provides a 
     summary of section 43001 concerning requirements in agency 
     rulemakings pursuant to this Act. Section 43001 of the House 
     amendments to H.R. 22 was not agreed to in conference and 
     does not appear in the conference report to accompany H.R. 
     22. The summary of section 43001 in the Joint Explanatory 
     statement therefore appears in error. Accordingly, title 
     XLIII of the Joint Explanatory Statement has no effect.

  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that we were able to come 
together to find a longer-term solution for our nation's 
infrastructure. We cannot keep operating on short-term fixes. 
Investments in our country's infrastructure need certainty. Though I 
would have preferred to see greater funding levels across the board, I 
am pleased to see provisions such as the High Density States Program 
are protected and funded for the next five years. While I will vote for 
this bill because it puts Americans back to work and allows our state 
and transit authorities to do long-term planning for our crumbling 
infrastructure, I must highlight some of the reasons this bill falls 
  The most substantial decreases in injuries and deaths on our roads 
and highways occurred as a result of major safety advancements, such as 
requiring seatbelts and airbags in all new cars. Today, we have a 
vehicle title that does not include such a safety advancement and does 
little to improve safety. This was a missed opportunity. This bill 
could have included meaningful safety improvements, such as imminent 
hazard authority to allow NHTSA to expedite a recall order when 
necessary, a requirement that ensured recalled used cars are repaired 
before they are sold, safety standards for rear seat crashworthiness, 
and the elimination of regional-only recalls that no longer make sense 
for our increasingly mobile world. And civil penalties should have been 
higher so that sacrificing safety will not be treated as a ``slap on 
the wrist'' or just another cost of doing business.
  Instead, this vehicle title includes provisions that take a step 
backwards on safety and that could actually lead to more injuries and 
deaths on our roads. For example, it includes a provision that exempts 
an unlimited number of replica cars--that is, new cars made to resemble 
old cars--from vehicle safety laws, clean air requirements, and state 
emissions testing. It also includes a whistleblower provision that will 
not encourage, and may effectively discourage, whistleblowers from 
reporting serious safety problems to the government. And even the 
promising rental car provision section, which requires rental car 
companies and auto dealers to repair recalled cars before renting or 
loaning them to customers, was weakened by excluding those that have a 
fleet of fewer than 35 vehicles.
  I am disappointed that the bicameral, bipartisan process failed to 
craft a vehicle title that actually enhances safety.
  Mrs. COMSTOCK. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this bipartisan 
transportation authorization, the Fixing America's Surface 
Transportation Act, also known as the FAST Act.
  I thank the Chairman for his leadership on this bipartisan 
transportation reauthorization.
  This is a 5-year bill that provides both budgetary certainty and 
project flexibility for our states and localities so that they may 
invest in and upgrade our transportation system and do so with more 
innovative technologies and approaches.
  The certainty provided by this long-term bill also saves money by 
stopping the short term patches that complicate planning and yield cost 
  As a representative in Northern Virginia, I know too well the traffic 
congestion issues we face and appreciate that this bill provides much-
needed assistance in this area.
  I am pleased to have served on the Conference Committee for this 
bill, and pleased that numerous provisions from one of my bills on 
congestion relief and research were included.
  This measure will help promote the development of transportation 
technologies and tools for congestion relief.
  The bill also includes some of my provisions related to Metro safety 
and accountability that I worked on with my DC and Maryland 
counterparts, Ms. Holmes Norton and Ms. Edwards.
  Again, I thank everyone involved in this process.
  I urge my colleagues to support the FAST Act.
  Mr. BEYER. Mr. Speaker, now that the House has approved the 
conference report I would like to recognize and commend my colleagues 
on both sides of the aisle for supporting the inclusion of bill 
language in H.R. 22 (Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act of 
2015) that will help protect consumers from the longstanding problem of 
predatory towing.
  For some time now, egregious vehicle towing and storage practices 
performed by some unscrupulous companies have been a serious concern in 
many parts of the country. While the vast majority of towing and 
storage firms are honest and well-intentioned, some have been engaged 
in predatory business tactics designed to delay access to vehicles and 
increase costs for consumers. Because these companies have possession 
of vehicles, they are in a position to take advantage of consumers and 
charge excessive towing and storage fees.
  For reasons that are not entirely clear, current Federal law allows 
states to regulate some, but not all aspects of tow truck operations, 
limiting their ability to protect consumers from predatory towing 
tactics. The language included in the amendment introduced by myself 
and Rep. Van Hollen broadens the authority of states and localities to 
regulate tow truck operations, which is limited by current motor 
carrier law. This additional authority will now allow states and 
localities to regulate all aspects of tows conducted without the prior

[[Page H8998]]

consent or authorization of the owner or operator of a vehicle. The 
language is also intended to apply to accident scene and breakdown 
towing, to allow states to protect consumers who are often unable to 
make an informed choice and give meaningful consent or acknowledgment 
on towing in those situations.
  I want to thank the conference chair and vice chair for their support 
of this important provision. I would also like to thank my predecessor, 
Jim Moran, who was a champion on this issue for so long and first 
introduced this language during the 109th Congress.
  Mr. BARLETTA. Mr. Speaker, today is a historic day, as we are voting 
for a five year surface transportation reauthorization bill that 
provides critical investment to our roads and bridges. This will help 
keep America competitive and provide certainty to states and 
communities planning infrastructure projects.
  However, it is irresponsible that neither the House nor the Senate 
has worked on serious reforms. We have not adjusted the user fee for 
our infrastructure in 20 years or considered new, sustainable revenue 
streams. Instead, we have spent valuable time searching for short term 
gimmicks. Make no mistake; I am disappointed with the offsets in this 
bill. We should not be robbing the banks or Customs to pay for our 
roads and bridges.
  This is fiscally irresponsible. At some point, we have to say enough 
is enough. That time has come. We need a long-term, robustly funded 
bill. We missed an opportunity with this legislation, but we in 
Congress must work together to continue finding common ground on 
innovative ideas to ensure the Highway Trust Fund has a sustainable 
revenue source. We cannot allow our children and grandchildren to pay 
for the investments we should be making now.
  As a Conferee, I was happy to work with Chairman Shuster, Ranking 
Member DeFazio, and my Senate Colleagues on important roadway safety 
issues, such as preventing heavier trucks from driving on our local 
  This bill fully funds the Highway Safety Improvement Program, which 
invests in infrastructure like guardrails, rumble strips, and 
retroreflective signs. While you will never read the headline, ``Rumble 
strip saves family of four,'' this program saves lives every day and 
for that reason alone, I urge my colleagues to support this bill today.
  Additionally, I was pleased to see common-sense provisions that I 
championed included in the final agreement. For example, I introduced 
the Local Farm Vehicle Flexibility Act to make sure farm vehicles are 
not regulated like long haul trucks. Today, this highway bill includes 
language to prevent farmers from getting tickets for driving from field 
to field without covering their load.
  It makes crude oil being transported by freight rail safer and gives 
first responders more time to react in the unlikely event of a 
derailment by including top fitting protections for the pressure relief 
valves. It also includes language that I strongly support to reduce 
paperwork burdens on concrete truck drivers.
  I worked with my fellow conferees to encourage the use of U.S. iron 
and steel in rolling stock frames and car shells. This provision will 
increase use of U.S. iron and steel in the fabrication of rolling stock 
frame and car shell components and subcomponents.
  Finally, many of the policy ideas that I introduced in the Safer 
Trucks and Buses Act were incorporated in this final version. We must 
work to make sure we fix the important safety score program so that 
good decisions can be made on scores that actually represent truck and 
bus safety records.
  Investing in infrastructure is good for the economy and good for 
America. I am happy to vote for this long term bill and look forward to 
working with my colleagues on policy ideas that could be included in a 
comprehensive tax reform bill to ensure the Highway Trust Fund has a 
sustainable funding source.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the Conference 
Report to H.R. 22, the ``Surface Transportation Reauthorization and 
Reform Act of 2015,'' a bill to authorize Federal Funding for highways, 
highway safety programs, and transit programs.
  I thank Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Shuster, Ranking 
Member DeFazio and the House and Senate Conferees for their work in 
bringing the Conference Report for the Surface Transportation 
Reauthorization and Reform Act to the floor for a vote.
  It is good to see the spirit of bipartisanship return to the process 
of funding our nation's transportation needs.
  As the former Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security 
Subcommittee on Transportation Security, I am well aware of the 
importance of our nation's transportation system.
  A well-functioning transportation system is critical to the nation's 
  Whether it is by road, transit, aviation, rail, or waterway, we rely 
on our transportation system to move people and goods safely, 
facilitate commerce, attract and retain businesses, and support jobs.
  Houston is the fourth most populous city in the country; but unlike 
other large cities, we have struggled to have an effective mass transit 
  Over many decades Houston's mass transit policy was to build more 
highways with more lanes to carry more drivers to and from work.
  The city of Houston has changed course and is now pursuing mass 
transit options that include light rail.
  This decision to invest in light rail is strongly supported by the 
increased use by Houstonians in the light rail service provided by 
previous transportation appropriations bills.
  The April 2014, Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority report on 
weekly ridership states that 44,267 used Houston's light rail Service--
representing a 6,096 or 16% change in ridership in April of last year.
  This increase in light rail usage outpaced ridership of other forms 
of mass transit in the city of Houston: metro bus had a 2.3% increase 
over April 2013; metro bus-local had a 1.3% increase over April 2013; 
and Metro Bus-Park and Ride had an 8.0% increase over April 2013.
  On February 5, 2013, the Houston Chronicle reported on the congestion 
Houston drivers face during their daily commute to and from work.
  The article reported that Houston commuters continue to experience 
some of the worst traffic delays in the country, according to the 2012 
urban mobility report. Houston area drivers wasted more than two days a 
year, on average, in traffic congestion, costing them each $1,090 in 
lost time and fuel.
  Funds made available by the legislation will be available for the 
construction of the University rail line and support of local 
government decisions by the Houston Metropolitan transit Authority and 
the city of Houston to expand rail service.
  More needs to be done to address the transportation needs of our 
nation from rural communities to major metropolitan areas.
  I appreciate that two Jackson Lee Amendments are included in the 
underlying bill.
  The first Jackson Lee Amendment ensures that the goals of improving 
transportation efficiency and safety take into consideration the topic 
of public safety, a rest stop, and public parking that is funded by 
this bill.
  The Jackson Lee Amendment requires the Transportation Secretary to 
report to Congress on the security of locations that are intended to 
encourage public use of alternative transportation, as well as personal 
transportation parking areas.
  An essential part of the success of public transportation usage is 
the ability of automobile drivers to park their vehicles in safety.
  More than 1 in 10 property crimes occur in parking lots or garages.
  The report will provide an opportunity for Congress to do more to 
enhance the safety of parking areas that are used by students, women, 
seniors, disabled, and other vulnerable members of the public.
  The Bureau of Justice Statistics provides a detailed report on the 
place of occurrence for violent and property crimes from 2004 through 
  For example, purse snatchings and pocket pickings typically occur 
away from home.
  According to Bureau of Justice Statistics 28.2% of purses snatched 
occur in open areas such as the street or on public transportation.
  The inclusion of this Jackson Lee Amendment will lead to enhanced 
safety of car pool parking lots, mass transit parking; local, state, 
and regional rail station parking; college or university parking; bike 
paths, walking trails, and other locations the Secretary deems 
  The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that victimization and 
property crimes occurring between 2004 and 2008 in parking lots and 
garages include: 213,540 victimization crimes that occurred in 
noncommercial parking lots and garages; and 864,190 property crimes.
  The Bureau's report on victimization crimes that occur at public 
transportation or in stations was 49,910 and property crimes was 
  The Jackson Lee Amendment will make surface transportation travel 
  More importantly, it will increase safety of the traveling public, 
especially women, seniors, students, disabled persons, and children.
  The second Jackson Lee Amendment included in the Conference Report 
provides a report to Congress from the Secretary of the Department of 
Transportation on the ``Internet of Things'' (IoT) and its potential to 
improve transportation services to the elderly and persons with 
disabilities as well as assist local, state and federal transportation 
planners in achieving better efficiencies and cost effectiveness, while 
protecting privacy and security of persons who use IoT technology.
  The IoT refers to the wireless environment that will support 
networking of physical objects or ``things'' embedded with wireless 
electronic components, software, sensors, and network connectivity 
technology, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data on 
people, places and things.

[[Page H8999]]

  The IoT will introduce the functionality of computing into physical 
space as computing technology is integrated into devices and systems.
  It will also challenge the privacy and security of users of the 
technology if precautions are not taken to ensure that information on 
these devices is not protected.
  This Jackson Lee Amendment will allow Congress to take into 
consideration how IoT technologies can be used to make public 
transportation, safer, more convenient to the elderly and disabled, and 
how it may improve mass and personal transportation efficiency.
  The ability to include wireless technology into physical things or 
support communication among digital devices that may be nearby or at 
distances will offer many benefits to consumers.
  IoT products are already being deployed for personal, recreational, 
city planning, public safety, energy consumption management, 
healthcare, and many other applications.
  Today, local governments are working to incorporate IoT services into 
transportation; garbage pickup, as well as the provision of wireless 
connectivity for their residents.
  The Jackson Lee Amendment will help ensure that we harness the 
benefits of the ``Internet of Things'' for the travelling public and 
minimize the threats to privacy and cybersecurity presented by this new 
and exciting technology.
  This is a good bill and I encourage my colleagues to support its 
  Mr. LoBIONDO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to offer comment on the FAST 
  I will support the bill. This is a strong, multi-year reauthorization 
which includes desperately needed funding for infrastructure repair and 
investment. I commend Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio for 
their work in producing a bipartisan bill
  I will also take this opportunity to remind my colleagues of a 
priority of mine to promote storm-resilient construction projects 
within the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
  The concrete products industries in my district in southern New 
Jersey has much to offer in helping the country build its 
transportation infrastructure. I know that many of my colleagues have 
similar constituent companies and workers, and I urge them to take note 
of my comments.
  I was pleased to support language in MAP-21 that was designed to help 
incorporate permeable pavements into the FHWA mission. Many of us on 
the eastern seaboard learned the utility of permeable pavements on 
Superstorm Sandy, and what flooding can do to our districts without 
warning if we are not prepared. I am happy to report that that language 
in MAP-21 dealing with permeable pavements is making good progress 
toward technological innovation that will Improve storm water 
mitigation, water quality, and more while providing aesthetically 
appealing paving surfaces.
  I will remind my constituents in New Jersey that, while the FAST Act 
overlooked an opportunity to take that technology further, I am still 
looking for ways to move permeable pavement technologies into the 
mainstream where they can benefit our constituents and save taxpayer 
money as well.
  In accordance with that goal, I submit the following material on 
passage of the FAST Act, and I hope that staff at FHWA and that the 
House and Senate will take note as well.
  MAP-21 authorized the Secretary to conduct technology transfer and 
adoption of permeable infiltration paving materials, practices, and 
systems that are designed to minimize environmental impacts, stormwater 
runoff, and flooding. Prior to MAP-21 and since, extreme rain events 
like Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and Superstorm Sandy, have 
underscored the need for stormwater mitigation. We encourage the 
Secretary to accelerate work on permeable pavements in anticipation of 
future events like Katrina, Rita, and Sandy. The Secretary is 
encouraged to conduct research on full scale load testing in permeable 
pavements for street, highway, and road shoulders to decrease 
environmental impacts and enhance sustainability. The Secretary is 
encouraged to conduct permeable pavement projects that demonstrate 
flood control and stormwater pollutant and volume reductions, including 
mitigation of impacts from superstorms and hurricanes, and life cycle 
cost analysis compared to conventional impervious pavements. Projects 
may include re-use and integration of permeable pavements with other 
cost-effective water conservation practices designed to treat, reduce, 
or remove pollutants by allowing stormwater runoff to retain 
infiltration capability similar to predevelopment hydrologic 
conditions, and for stormwater harvesting.
  We hope that FHWA will act upon language in Sec. 1428 of the FAST Act 
and previously existing authority to improve infrastructure integrity 
by adding innovative segmental wall technology for soil bank 
stabilization and roadway sound attenuation, and articulated technology 
for hydraulic sheer-resistant erosion control--areas in which emerging 
technologies could improve deliver marked benefits in surface 
transportation. Examples of emerging technologies that could meet the 
goals of this Act include cost effective segmental retaining walls that 
can make use of native soils and reduce construction costs, durable 
geosynthetic soil stabilization and anchoring, more durable articulated 
segmental unit slope protection and erosion control that are more 
resistant to hydraulic sheer and overtopping than riprap, and segmental 
roadway sound attenuation barriers that can give planners more options 
and help reduce procurement costs. We hope the Secretary will place 
primary emphasis on activities designed to assist state and local 
transportation agencies in reducing initial cost of construction of 
retaining walls, slope protection and erosion control, and sound 
attenuation barriers using high-quality transportation-grade materials, 
designs and engineering techniques. Specific activities might include 
validation of technology materials, soils requirements, design 
methodologies and engineering data; research to develop current, 
accurate scientific data on the performance of geosynthetic 
reinforcement for structural characteristics; a cost-sensitivity 
analysis to assist state and local authorities in projecting initial 
construction cost savings to life cycle requirements while providing 
competitive reliability; calibrating design methodologies based on 
tests of instrumented, full-scale testing of walls and barriers, slope 
stability, and segmental sound attenuation assemblies.
  Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in 
support of H.R. 22, the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) 
Act. This long-term authorization of surface transportation programs 
will provide the certainty that states and municipalities need to plan 
and build out critical transportation infrastructure projects.
  This 5-year, $305 billion measure represents a bi-partisan compromise 
to help repair our crumbling infrastructure and secure our economic 
future while creating thousands of good paying jobs. As both a conferee 
to the transportation bill and the senior Texan on the House 
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I can say with strong 
confidence that this legislation is a good-faith effort to make the 
important investments in our transportation infrastructure that our 
nation so desperately needs. While there are some shortcomings in the 
bill and some of us would like to have higher levels of investments be 
included, this bill will still help to further new and existing 
projects for the long-term.
  I am pleased to see that this bill supports research and development, 
including expanding university transportation center outreach to women 
and underrepresented populations. In going forward, I hope that we can 
do more to elevate our nation as a leader in multimodal transportation 
  Mr. Speaker, Americans demand more investment in infrastructure and 
it is the responsibility of this Congress to make that investment. I 
applaud Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio and other members 
from the various committees of jurisdiction for their hard work on this 
bill. Passage of this legislation is a strong first step in keeping 
America competitive and helping to build and maintain our nation's 
critical transportation infrastructure.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. All time for debate has expired.
  Pursuant to House Resolution 546, the previous question is ordered.
  The question is on the conference report.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the ayes appeared to have it.
  Mr. SHUSTER. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 359, 
nays 65, not voting 9, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 673]


     Bishop (GA)
     Bishop (MI)
     Bishop (UT)
     Boyle, Brendan F.
     Brady (PA)
     Brady (TX)
     Brooks (IN)
     Brown (FL)
     Brownley (CA)
     Carson (IN)
     Carter (GA)
     Carter (TX)
     Castor (FL)
     Castro (TX)
     Chu, Judy
     Clark (MA)
     Clarke (NY)
     Collins (GA)
     Collins (NY)
     Costello (PA)
     Curbelo (FL)
     Davis (CA)
     Davis, Danny
     Davis, Rodney

[[Page H9000]]

     Doyle, Michael F.
     Duncan (TN)
     Ellmers (NC)
     Emmer (MN)
     Frankel (FL)
     Graves (GA)
     Graves (LA)
     Graves (MO)
     Green, Al
     Green, Gene
     Heck (NV)
     Heck (WA)
     Herrera Beutler
     Hurd (TX)
     Jackson Lee
     Jenkins (KS)
     Jenkins (WV)
     Johnson (GA)
     Johnson (OH)
     Johnson, E. B.
     Kelly (IL)
     Kelly (MS)
     Kelly (PA)
     King (IA)
     King (NY)
     Kinzinger (IL)
     Larsen (WA)
     Larson (CT)
     Lieu, Ted
     Lujan Grisham (NM)
     Lujan, Ben Ray (NM)
     Maloney, Carolyn
     Maloney, Sean
     McMorris Rodgers
     Miller (MI)
     Mooney (WV)
     Murphy (FL)
     Murphy (PA)
     Poe (TX)
     Price (NC)
     Price, Tom
     Rice (NY)
     Rice (SC)
     Roe (TN)
     Rogers (AL)
     Rogers (KY)
     Rooney (FL)
     Ryan (OH)
     Sanchez, Linda T.
     Scott (VA)
     Scott, Austin
     Scott, David
     Sewell (AL)
     Smith (MO)
     Smith (NE)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (WA)
     Swalwell (CA)
     Thompson (CA)
     Thompson (MS)
     Thompson (PA)
     Van Hollen
     Walters, Mimi
     Wasserman Schultz
     Waters, Maxine
     Watson Coleman
     Webster (FL)
     Wilson (FL)
     Young (AK)
     Young (IA)
     Young (IN)


     Brooks (AL)
     Clawson (FL)
     Duncan (SC)
     Franks (AZ)
     Hice, Jody B.
     Huizenga (MI)
     Hurt (VA)
     Miller (FL)
     Smith (TX)
     Weber (TX)
     Wilson (SC)

                             NOT VOTING--9

     Johnson, Sam
     Sanchez, Loretta

                              {time}  1325

  Messrs. CLAWSON of Florida and WALKER changed their vote from ``yea'' 
to ``nay.''
  Mr. HOYER, Ms. ESTY, and Mr. YOUNG of Indiana changed their vote from 
``nay'' to ``yea.''
  So the conference report was agreed to.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.
  Stated for:
  Mr. WILLIAMS. Mr. Speaker, on rollcall 672 on final passage of H.R. 
8, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015, I 
would have voted ``aye,'' which is consistent with my position on this 
  Ms. LORETTA SANCHEZ of California. Mr. Speaker, on December 3, 2015, 
I was unable to vote on the Conference Report to accompany H.R. 22, the 
Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 (rollcall 
No. 673). Had I been present, I would have voted ``yes.''

                          Personal Explanation

  Mr. RUPPERSBERGER. Mr. Speaker, I was not able to vote today for 
medical reasons.
  Had I been present on rollcall vote 666, I would have voted ``no.''
  Had I been present on rollcall vote 667, I would have voted ``yes.''
   Had I been present on rollcall vote 668, I would have voted ``yes.''
   Had I been present on rollcall vote 669, I would have voted ``no.''
   Had I been present on rollcall vote 670, I would have voted ``yes.''
   Had I been present on rollcall vote 671, I would have voted ``yes.''
   Had I been present on rollcall vote 672, I would have voted ``no.''
   Had I been present on rollcall vote 673, I would have voted ``yes.''

                          PERSONAL EXPLANATION

  Mr. CUELLAR. Mr. Speaker, on Thursday, December 3rd, I am not 
recorded on any votes because I was absent due to family reasons. If I 
had been present, I would have voted: ``nay,'' on rollcall 666, on 
ordering the Previous Question providing for further consideration of 
H.R. 22; ``yea,'' on rollcall 667, on H. Res. 546, providing for 
consideration of the Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 22; ``yea,'' 
on rollcall 668, on the Cramer Amendment to H.R. 8; ``nay,'' on 
rollcall 669, on the Rouzer Amendment to H.R. 8; ``nay,'' on rollcall 
670, on the Pallone Amendment to H.R. 8; ``yea,'' on rollcall 671, on 
the motion to recommit H.R. 8; ``yea,'' on rollcall 672, on passage of 
H.R. 8; ``yea,'' on rollcall 673, on passage of the Conference Report 
to Accompany H.R. 22.

                          PERSONAL EXPLANATION

  Mr. TAKAI. Mr. Speaker, on Thursday, December 3, I was absent from 
the House due to illness. Due to my absence, I am not recorded on any 
legislative measures for the day. I would like the record to reflect 
how I would have voted had I been present for legislative business.
  Had I been present, I would have voted ``no'' on rollcall 666, the 
previous question providing for consideration of the Conference Report 
to Accompany H.R. 22.
  I would have voted ``no'' on rollcall 667, the rule providing for 
consideration of the Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 22.
  I would have voted ``no'' on rollcall 668, the Cramer Amendment to 
the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015.
  I would have voted ``no'' on rollcall 669, the Rouzer Amendment to 
the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015.
  I would have voted ``yea'' on rollcall 670, the Pallone Amendment to 
the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015.
  I would have voted ``yea'' on rollcall 671, the Democratic Motion to 
Recommit H.R. 8.
  I would have voted ``no'' on rollcall 672, final passage of the North 
American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015.
  I would have voted ``yea'' on rollcall 673, Agreeing to the 
Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 22.