Murphy Helped Craft Bill In Committee, Secured Funding For Connecticut Priorities; Bill Includes An Additional $249 Million To Improve Rail Safety And Reliability & $135 Million To Help Low-Income Families Remove Lead From Their Homes
WASHINGTON – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)applauded Senate passage of the FY 2017 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (T-HUD), and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. For the first time, the Northeast Corridor—the only profitable Amtrak line in the country—can reinvest its profits for critical capital investments and safety improvements. As a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, HUD, and Related Agencies, Murphyfought to secure more than $1.4 billion for Amtrak safety and improvement, including $345 million specifically for the Northeast Corridor in a new Northeast Corridor rail fund.
Additionally, after learning that HUD did not adequately assess hazards like asbestos and mold at Church Street South in New Haven, Murphy also successfully led the fight to ensure that the T-HUD Appropriations bill includes several provisions to improve living conditions for residents at HUD-assisted housing units and ensure that those properties are decent, safe, and in good repair. The bill also funds $135 million to reduce lead-based paint and other hazards in the homes of more than 6,200 low and very-low income families.
“Transportation funding is the coin of the realm when it comes to economic growth in Connecticut – our state’s economy hinges on our ability to move people safely and quickly to the big metro centers of Manhattan and Boston,” said Murphy. “People in Connecticut are fed up with their commutes. I’m proud to have helped craft this bill because of the critical investments it makes in Connecticut roads, rail and safety.”
Murphy added, “This bill is also a good first step to help families remove dangerous lead from their homes and improve HUD housing conditions. We need to make sure that no other community endures the decrepit conditions that too many suffered through at Church Street South in New Haven.”
Murphy also successfully fought to include a Buy American provision that will require the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector General to audit Buy American practices within the FAA.
Key highlights of the appropriations bill include:
- $1.42 billion for Amtrak, a $30 million increase from last year. This includes:
- $345 million for a newly-created Northeast Corridor account
- $1.075 billion for Amtrak’s National Network
- For the first time, the Northeast Corridor—the only profitable Amtrak line in the country—can reinvest its profits to make critical capital investments and safety improvements
- $525 million in funding for the TIGER program, a $25 million increase from last year
- $199 million in Positive Train Control implementation funding
- $50 million for Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement grants
- $20 million for Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Grants to help Northeast Corridor states tackle the state of good repair backlog from Boston to Washington, DC
- $135 million for the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes’ grants
- Directives to strengthen inspection and oversight of physical conditions at HUD-assisted housing. Includes:
- Requires HUD to notify owners of all health-related findings within 15 days of a physical inspection, and to develop a compliance and enforcement plan within 30 days of the inspection
- Expands enforcement actions HUD can take against property owners
- Requires HUD to engage its stakeholders, including tenants, to identify ways the Department can improve inspection protocols and oversight
- $3 billion for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program
- Continues assistance to all Connecticut families and individuals currently served by Section 8 and Public Housing Programs