Transportation: Challenges and Solutions
Home to the largest passenger airport in the world, Metro Atlanta is the economic engine of the southeast. It is an honor to represent the fastest-growing urban community in the country. Unfortunately, with an economic and population explosion come logistical and commuting challenges for our community. In order to continue to attract jobs and new residents to Atlanta, we must tackle our transportation challenges head-on. We must reduce congestion, plan smart growth, and promote safety.
I began my congressional career on what was then the Public Works and Transportation Committee before moving to the Ways and Means Committee. Luckily, I am still able to work on transportation through financing our nation’s roads and airspace. I use my seniority on the powerful Ways and Means Committee to address issues related to transportation safety and workers, for example, fighting for passengers' rights and fair and equal distribution of air travel taxes during the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization process.
Over the years, I have successfully secured millions of dollars in funding to improve and expand Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) Smart Card and Clean Bus programs, the Georgia North Line extension, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and the Metro Atlanta water and sewer initiatives. Much work remains at the local level to secure adequate funding for these key modes of our transportation and infrastructure.
Any growth must consider our current and future needs. Years ago, I initiated the fight against the explosion of billboards on American highways. I developed the framework for smoke-free transportation facilities that are now a national standard and led the congressional fight against visible pollution. I am also a leader on road, aviation, and motorcoach safety.
These fights are ongoing. Transportation solutions need to be environmentally-friendly and help our communities thrive. We must have walkable, bikable, safe neighborhoods with affordable transit alternatives. Transportation is the key to keeping Atlanta as at the forefront of our region.
More on Transportation
Every other year, Congress considers a comprehensive authorization bill for projects and studies within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ("Corps"). This authorizing legislation is called the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).
The SAFETEA-LU, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: a Legacy for Users (P.L. 109-59; 119 Stat 1144) authorization of federal highway and transit programs expires at the close of FY2009. Consequently, the 111th Congress is preparing to begin drafting the surface transportation reauthorization legislation.
On Wednesday, July 23rd, Congressman Lewis led the Congressional debate on H.R. 6532, the Highway Trust Fund Restoration Act. This legislation passed by a vote of 387 to 37, and the President signed it into law on September 15, 2008.
Breaking Down the Highway Trust Fund
What is the Highway Trust Fund?
National Highway Transportation Safety Administration Safety-related rulemaking
H.R. 3074, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act, 2008 Floor Colloquy between Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and Chairman John Olver (D-MA) on Occupant Vehicle Ejection Safety Standards
Rep. Lewis led an oversight effort and applauded the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee for working to address highway safety standards in the fiscal year 2008 appropriations bill.