WATCH: Senator Kelly Advances Bipartisan Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill

Kelly Highlights Arizona Wins in Remarks to Committee

Today, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee advanced a bipartisan $303.5 billion transportation infrastructure bill shaped and backed by Arizona Senator Kelly that will fund surface transportation projects in Arizona. During the committee hearing, Kelly raised key Arizona priorities included in the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021, including funding to assist states and local governments with the costs of planning large transportation projects. This bill makes a historic investment in Department of Transportation programs for highways, roads, and bridges, an increase of more than 34 percent from the last reauthorization to pass Congress, the FAST Act, in 2015.

“This bill invests in our nation’s transportation infrastructure at a historically high level, and most importantly, the bill will transform our future — and as someone who is at any moment about to become a grandfather — preparing for our future is very important. Investing in our surface transportation is more than building new roads or bridges — it is a foundation for job creation, a flourishing economy, and connectivity for decades to come,” Senator Kelly said in his remarks. “To support Arizona’s growing population, we have to build up sustainable, affordable transportation infrastructure. After talking with Arizona mayors, business groups, and others, I worked to include priorities for our state and communities in this legislation.”

Major priorities the Senator specifically advocated for, like dedicated funding to repair Arizona’s bridges, investment in transportation infrastructure resiliency, an amendment to study the use of locally-sourced building materials, and specific funding for Tribal infrastructure, were all included in the bill. In total, the bill aims to bring billions of dollars to Arizona over the next five years to improve and expand its transportation infrastructure. 

Full text of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act can be found here. Additional materials include a section-by-section and tables for apportionments and authorizations. 

You can read a transcript of Senator Kelly’s remarks below, and watch his full remarks here.

[1:05:15]: “Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member Capito. It’s so great to be here today to work on and advance such landmark legislation championed by both Republicans and Democrats to revitalize America’s infrastructure.

“This bill invests in our nation’s transportation infrastructure at a historically high level, and most importantly, the bill will transform our future — and as someone who is at any moment about to become a grandfather — preparing for our future is very important. Investing in our surface transportation is more than building new roads or bridges — it is a foundation for job creation, a flourishing economy, and connectivity for decades to come.

“The funding increase for surface transportation shows our shared commitment to a better American future. I am proud of how our work together on this committee accomplishes this. 

“Now, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021 is critical for Arizona. Like most of the country, we are in recovery mode from the devastating pandemic, but Arizona is still experiencing record-setting growth. In fact, Arizona is the second-fastest growing state in the U.S.

“And this means that a down payment on our infrastructure is more important than ever. 

“To support Arizona’s growing population, we have to build up sustainable, affordable transportation infrastructure. After talking with Arizona mayors, business groups, and others, I worked to include priorities for our state in this legislation. 

“There’s more work to be done on infrastructure, but this legislation is the first step of bringing billions of dollars to Arizona to move major transportation infrastructure projects forward.

“Projects like the I-10 expansion to make the corridor more safe and efficient, like I-11 to finally connect Phoenix and Las Vegas, and needed improvements and upgrades to rural roads and bridges.

“This legislation thinks ahead to navigate the climate challenges we face — it invests in transportation infrastructure resiliency, with a particular emphasis placed on heat reduction programs, a major factor in Arizona. 

“It dedicates funding to support Arizona’s aging bridge infrastructure, as well as expansions and improvements. For tribal communities, the bill delivers critical funding to establish a Tribal High Priority Projects Program, create an Office of Tribal Government Affairs, and increase the overall funding in the Tribal Transportation Program authorization. 

“And it also includes bipartisan priorities that I advocated for, including the ROCKS Act I introduced with Senator Portman, which would make federal transportation projects more sustainable, efficient, and beneficial to local economies by advancing the use of locally-sourced aggregate resources, like sand, stone, and gravel; and it also includes funding to help states, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and localities cover the costs associated with taking on larger construction projects.  

“So Mr. Chairman, I am proud to have worked with Republicans and Democrats to shape and advance this investment that will upgrade and expand the roadways Arizonans use to connect each and every day. And I look forward to our continued bipartisan work to invest in our infrastructure.

“Thank you, and I yield back.”

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