Posts Tagged ‘Peter DeFazio’

House Transportation Committee Leaders Named

February 7, 2021

The chairman of a Congressional committee overseeing transportation predicted last week that the COVID-19 pandemic may create lasting changes in workplace practices.

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) said in prepared remarks that transportation networks will need a long time to recover from the pandemic.

DeFazio spoke during a hearing held by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that discussed protecting transportation workers and passengers from COVID-19 and to get organized for the current session of Congress.

“Transportation workers in particular have been hard hit by the devastating health dangers and significant financial repercussions of the public health crisis our nation continues to face,” DeFazio said.

T&I Committee Ranking Member Rep. Sam Graves (R-Missouri) said Congress has authorized an unprecedented $113 billion to support different transportation services, including $39 billion for transit, $10 billion for state departments of transportation and $2 billion for Amtrak.

“We need to ensure that all of this money leaves the federal government and gets to the intended recipients as soon as possible,” Graves said.

The committee also named committee heads and the ranking member for each of its six subcommittees.

Those assignments include the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials, with Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-New Jersey) serving as chair and Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Arkansas) as ranking member; the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, with Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia  serving as chair and Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Illinois) as ranking member; and the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, with Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-California as chair and Rep. David Rouzer (R-North Carolina) as ranking member.

DeFazio Critical of Lack of Mandatory Standards

June 10, 2020

The chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee this week was critical of the U.S. Department of Transportation and other federal agencies for their failure to issue mandatory guidelines to protect transportation workers.

Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) conducted a hearing to review the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on transportation workers

In his opening statement, DeFazio said few industries have been hit harder by the pandemic than transportation.

He said DOT and other agencies have “refused to issue mandatory guidance protecting workers and the general public, instead relying on voluntary recommendations that offer little practical guidance other than suggesting that agencies develop rules to keep their employees safe without even collecting best practices from different sectors.”

DeFazio said many transit workers have been forced to work without the necessary personal protective equipment.

Sam Graves (R-Missouri), the committee’s ranking minority member, called for understanding of how the pandemic has affected frontline transportation workers.

“Moving forward to recovery, we must make smart, safe and calculated decisions to get our workforce going and businesses hiring again,” Graves said, adding, “This will affect our ability to restart and reconnect supply chains that are key to economic recovery.”

Draft Transportation Bill Likely Before Summer

January 12, 2020

A draft surface transportation bill is expected to be released by the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure before summer but not this month as reported earlier.

Committee Chair Peter DeFazio said the committee would “release more specifics in the not-too-distant future.” He did not elaborate on when that would be.

The current law that authorizes spending on highways, transit, and passenger rail programs expires on Sept. 30.

“This is like the beginning of the beginning of the year,” DeFazio said. “We’re talking about the middle of the beginning of the year. That’s earlier than June but later than January.”

In the meantime the Senate Finance Committee has been considering its own surface transportation legislation and has found finding new revenue to be a struggle.

A draft highway reauthorization bill the committee is considering calls for spending $287 billion on highways but stagnant revenue in the Highway Trust Fund means the committee is $113 billion short of paying for the proposed authorization.

Legislation in the Senate reauthorizing public transit and passenger rail is not expected to be drafted until later this year.