Bonamici Votes for Transportation Bill, Student Loan Fix
WASHINGTON, DC – Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1) voted for the Surface Transportation Bill and issued the following statement:
“Today I voted to support the two-year transportation bill that was presented to Congress on Wednesday night after a long negotiation process by House and Senate members. We need a transportation bill to provide stability to those in our communities who rely on federal transportation funds to support important projects, and for whom the continuing uncertainty from repeated extensions of transportation programs was simply unacceptable. I am glad that the conferees were able to present us with a bill that will get people back to work, creating or saving more than 2 million jobs. Perhaps most importantly this bill extends county payments – critical funding that many counties in my district and across Oregon depend on to maintain public services like schools and fire departments. It will allow us time in congress to work on a long term solution to this problem. The bill expands a loan program that could bring much-needed federal transportation dollars to Oregon, and maintains robust funding for Projects of National and Regional Significance. Additionally, provisions within the bill extend the current 3.4 percent interest rate on federal student loans, something I’ve been fighting for since I entered Congress, preventing a $6.3 billion new debt burden to students in just one year.
“Now that this lengthy and often discouraging process behind us, we need to begin a new conversation on transportation to take our economy into the 21st century. We can’t address the transportation needs of our constituents by simply building new roads. We need to invest in new transportation policy and infrastructure—from high speed rail to bicycle and pedestrian pathways—and this bill doesn’t meet this goal. Looking ahead, I will begin working with my colleagues now on how we can improve the current authorization and hopefully avoid the partisan atmosphere and brinksmanship that controlled the debate up to today.”