Richardson Visits Fresno to Gather Input on Future Transportation Legislation
2011-02-24 · By Editor
Congresswoman plans to introduce legislation allowing states to take responsibility for the National Environmental Policy Act process
Congresswoman Laura Richardson (CA-37) was in Fresno on Tuesday, February 22 to sit on a panel with colleagues from the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Rep. Richardson, accompanied by Chairman John Mica (FL-7), Rep. Jeff Denham (CA-19), Rep. Bill Shuster (PA-9) as well as several local business executives and community leaders, participated in a public listening session to gather input on impending long-term surface transportation legislation being introduced in Congress later this year. The bill will deal with plans to renew and expand America’s transportation infrastructure, including roads, railways and runways.
“The last multi-year funding and authorization bill for surface transportation, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act (SAFETEA-LU), was created in 2005 and expired in 2009,” said Congresswoman Richardson. “Our economy and transportation needs have changed dramatically over the past six years, so any legislation we create must reflect the new concerns and realities facing our local communities. This meeting is imperative to the legislative process and helps ensure that the American people are heard.”
The listening session, held at the U.C. Merced Center, was one of several bi-partisan meetings occurring throughout the country organized by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, of which Rep. Richardson is a member.
As the Committee begins to craft new legislation, it is seeking input on program consolidation and performance improvements, streamlining the project delivery process, and increasing private sector investment. Of particular concern to Congresswoman Richardson is ensuring that future legislation addresses improving efficiency and timely completion of projects.
“Project delays only increase congestion and raise costs which is why I plan to reintroduce the Jobs Through Environmental Safeguarding and Streamlining Act of 2010 (JESSA),” said Congresswoman Richardson. “JESSA will save a substantial amount of time and money by allowing states with strong environmental review laws to assume responsibility for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. It will also enhance the reporting process so the full costs and benefits of the program are clear.”
Congresswoman Richardson’s legislation extends and enhances a pilot program originally enacted as part of SAFETEA-LU. The program has been proven to save an average of 17 months and a median of 24 months in the environmental review process for projects requiring an Environmental Assessment.