Wicker votes to advance bipartisan surface transportation bill – Press releases
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, voted today to advance the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021, which would set a level base funding over five years at a historic level of $ 303.5 billion for highways, roads and bridges across the country. If passed, it would provide Mississippi about $ 3.3 billion during that time. The proposal is now heading to the Senate floor for consideration.
“It is good to see the Congress coming together in a bipartisan way for the infrastructure of our country”, Wicker mentionned. “This bill would be a historic investment in the many roads, highways and bridges across America that need to be repaired or replaced. It also includes a number of important provisions that would help Mississippi communities access federal resources for important transportation projects and increase safety in our state. As Congress seeks solutions to our country’s crumbling infrastructure, this is a step in the right direction.
Among other provisions, the legislation includes several Wicker priorities, including:
- Bridge Investment Law – The legislation includes the main elements of the Bridge Investment Act, which Wicker co-sponsored. The bill would provide up to $ 6.53 billion for bridge improvement projects. The bill also included a Wicker request to direct additional investment to off-grid bridges in rural counties.
- Rural investment – The legislation contained many provisions to direct investment to rural America, including the $ 2 billion authorization for a discretionary rural grants program and the authorization of the ROUTES council (Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success) to provide a rural perspective to the Department of Transportation.
- Flexibility for multimodal freight investment – The legislation includes some Wicker priorities to allow more opportunities for impactful multimodal freight projects under the National Highway Freight Program and Infrastructure Grants for the Reconstruction of America (INFRA).
- Improve local control – The legislation includes the Wicker’s Transportation Alternatives Enhancement Act, which would strengthen a program that supports projects designed to improve the quality of life through walking and cycling infrastructure by giving local governments more control and increasing funding for it. reduce to its historical average. Mississippi communities of all sizes can access this program.
- Future interstate designations – Wicker supported the designation of several routes in Mississippi as high priority corridors, making the routes eligible to become freeways if the roads meet interstate standards in the future. The designated high priority corridors include:
- South Mississippi Corridor – A road along US 84 from the Mississippi-Louisiana border near Natchez in the east to the intersection with I-59 near Laurel and following US 49 from Hattiesburg in the south to the intersection with I-10 near Gulfport.
- Kosciusko to Gulf Coast Corridor – A route starting at I-55 near Vaiden, going south and passing east from Jackson to connect to US 49 north of Hattiesburg.
- SR 7 from Grenada north to I-22 intersection at Holly Springs
- I-22 Tupelo spur south along US 45 to Shannon
The 2021 Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act would replace the existing surface transportation law, the FAST Act, which is due to expire in September. This bill would allow an increase of more than 34% of the funding compared to the FAST law.
This bill was rejected in committee by a unanimous bipartisan vote of 20-0.