Most Americans rely on our road and public transportation systems every day to reach jobs and schools, businesses and health care, and family and friends. We need to find ways to expand and improve our options to better reflect the way Americans live today. Today I am proud of our bipartisan effort in the Senate to pass the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” bill, which funds our highway, public transit and safety programs for the next two years.
This legislation will lead to safer roads, while also creating up to 3 million good paying jobs over the next two years while rebuilding our aging infrastructure. I am proud to say this legislation will bring roughly $800 million each year for the next two years to Wisconsin in order to repair our highway system, make needed repairs to our bridges, and provide critical investments toward mass transit.
According to the Wisconsin Urban & Rural Transit Association, nearly 50% of Wisconsin transit riders rely on buses to get to jobs, and students in high school and college all across Wisconsin utilize mass transit to get to classes. Safe and efficient transportation systems don’t just move people, they open doors to opportunity.
To help senior citizens, this bill also includes some key provisions from my “Senior Transportation and Mobility Improvement Act.” I worked successfully with my colleagues on the Senate Banking Committee to include an amendment that provides states with greater flexibility in using federal funding for programs that help ensure mobility for seniors who do not have access to public transportation. These funds assist with the costs of operating vehicles, such as insurance, rising fuel costs and driver compensation.
This transportation bill was long overdue and I am pleased my colleagues worked together to craft this legislation in a bipartisan way. Wisconsin depends on this funding to begin or continue projects that improve our infrastructure and sustain good-paying jobs.