U. S. House of Representatives
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, 110th-116th Congress
- Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee, Chairman (116th)
- Highways and Transit Subcommittee
- Aviation Subcommittee
Accomplishments Upgrading Local and National Transportation and Improving Other Infrastructure
Leadership Bringing Home Federal Funding for Local Transportation Infrastructure
Serving on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, worked with congressional colleagues and officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation and in the White House to help bring home hundreds of millions of dollars to improve local transportation including funding for roads, bridges, public transportation, bike/pedestrian paths, inland waterways, and airports. Funding highlights include:
- More than $765 million in federal funding for the CREATE rail modernization program, a public-private partnership to reduce congestion in northeastern Illinois on the rail system and on roads crossing rail lines; earmarked first $100 million for CREATE as a Project of National and Regional Significance in H.R. 3, SAFETEA-LU, in 2005.
- Over $60 million for safety improvements in and around Midway Airport, working along with Chicago and CDA.
- More than $7.5 billion for Illinois roads over five years – an increase of more than 10% – in H.R. 22, The FAST Act. Member of House-Senate Conference Committee that wrote final bill.
Leadership Securing State Funding for Local Transportation Infrastructure
Worked with state leaders – including serving as Chair of the Transportation, Rail, Marine, Air, and Intermodal Infrastructure Subcommittee of Governor Pritzker’s Restoring Illinois’ Infrastructure Committee – to secure funding for local projects.
Funding highlights include:
- $150 million for a rail underpass at 65th Street and Harlem Avenue
- $6 million for a control tower at Lewis University Airport (Romeoville)
- $300 million for CREATE rail modernization program
Other Local Transportation and Infrastructure Accomplishments
- Added an additional train to Metra’s Heritage Corridor and established first-ever weekend service on Metra’s Southwest Service Line by working with Metra, CN, Norfolk Southern, and other freight railroads as well as more than two dozen mayors, alderman, and Will County and Cook County officials.
- Aided Oak Lawn and North Riverside in creating rail quiet zones by working with village officials, Federal Railroad Administration, and Norfolk Southern and CN Railroads.
- Alleviated flooding issues in La Grange and protected the Lucas-Berg Nature Preserve in Worth by working out (two separate) agreements with village officials, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and a local quarry (La Grange).
- Established Pace Transit Center in Bridgeview by earmarking $475 million in federal funds, helping garner $2 million in state funds from IDOT, and working with Pace Suburban Bus and local elected officials.
- Enabled creation of I-294 tollway access in Justice and construction of a new sound barrier in Bridgeview by working with Illinois Tollway Authority, IDOT, and local elected officials.
- Facilitated agreement between U.S. Coast Guard and Village of Lemont to enable the construction of bike/pedestrian bridge.
- Expanded CTA bus service by working with CTA and local officials in Chicago.
Commuter Rail and Amtrak
As chairman of Rail Subcommittee, created first-ever commuter rail policy section in a surface transportation reauthorization bill (H.R. 2, The Moving Forward Act) which included making commuter railroads eligible for approximately $7 billion in Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grants, prioritizing major rail hubs like Chicago Union Station for funding within the CRISI program for infrastructure improvements, increasing formula funding for public transit by 57%, authorizing a record $30 billion for Amtrak.
Authored H.R. 1405, RAILS Act, to authorize $200 million in grants for commuter rail agencies to install and test Positive Train Control safety technology; became law as part of the FAST Act (P.L. 114-94).
Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Technology
As co-chair of the Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus, authored The Future TRIP Act, to establish a University Transportation Center (UTC) for research and development of autonomous and connected vehicles and to authorize a study to help USDOT develop policies for the safe deployment of this technology; provisions enacted in the FAST Act, P.L. 114-94.
Authored and led support for key provisions in Water Resources Development Act of 2020 which increased in the federal cost share for inland waterways system infrastructure projects from 50% to 65%, authorized the Brandon Road lock and dam project in Joliet at 80% federal cost share (instead of 50%) to help prevent the spread of Asian carp, directed the Army Corps of Engineers to prioritize completion of a study to fix the eroding Chicago Shoreline, and authorized the Bubbly Creek ecosystem restoration project and a study to develop other eco-system restoration projects for the Chicago Area Rivers system; became law in Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 P.L 116-260.
Lead Democrat on H.R. 1149, Waterways Are Vital for the Economy, Energy, Efficiency, and Environment (WAVE4) Act, which raised user fee by 30% and enacted delivery process reforms for infrastructure projects on inland/intracoastal waterways; became law in Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-121).
University Transportation Centers (UTCs)
Authored key provisions in FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-254) which directed DOT to adopt customer service standards for online ticket agents, required GAO to study the effect on passengers from airline computer network disruptions, directed DOT to enter into agreements with universities for research and development on airport pavement durability, and facilitated airport acquisition of green technology, including battery powered buses.
Lead Democrat on H.R. 5701, Aviation Maintenance Workforce Development Pilot Program, and H.R. 1386, Remote Tower Pilot Program for Rural or Small Communities; became law as part of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-254).
Authored key provisions in FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-95)which required FAA to work on creating a lead-free fuel for piston-engine aircraft as well as alternative forms of aviation fuel and promoted recycling at airports.
As member of House Transportation Committee Special Panel on 21st Century Freight Transportation, helped establish two new federal programs in the FAST Act (P.L. 114-94).
to provide funding for infrastructure to move freight more efficiently; one provided $11 billion in formula funds and the other provided $5 billion for competitive grants for projects of national and regional significance.
Mitigating Impact of Rail on Local Communities
As chairman of Rail Subcommittee, included provisions in H.R. 2, The Moving Forward Act, to create the first-ever dedicated grant program of $2.5 billion to fund road-rail underpasses, make CRISI grants available to communities to fund rail horn quiet zones, set a federal time limit of 10 minutes for blocked crossings, and direct the USDOT to create a national strategy for addressing blocked crossings.