U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) outlined his goals in 2013 as chairman of the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security, before retiring in 2014.
“As chairman of the Surface Transportation Subcommittee, I will continue working vigorously to modernize America’s transportation network and ensure the safety and security of our roads, rails, pipelines and ports,” said Sen. Lautenberg. “Improving passenger and high-speed rail service in America and on the Northeast Corridor is a top priority that my subcommittee will pursue aggressively. A strong surface transportation network is critical to helping the economy thrive and our work will help create jobs, drive growth and keep America competitive. Transportation is the lifeblood of New Jersey’s economy and economies all across the country and I am committed to using the gavel to bring America’s infrastructure into the 21st Century.”
Sen. Lautenberg has been an advocate for modernizing America’s passenger and high-speed rail services and will continue his work to strengthen Amtrak and prioritize rail transportation on the subcommittee. In 2008, he wrote the law to authorize and increase funding for Amtrak and create the nation’s high-speed rail grant program. In 2011, he worked to secure the designation of the Northeast Corridor as a federally recognized high-speed rail corridor, which allowed Amtrak to receive $450 million in federal funding for high-speed rail upgrades benefiting New Jersey.
An important part of Sen. Lautenberg’s passenger rail agenda will be advancing the Gateway Tunnel, a project under the Hudson River, which will increase commuter rail access between New Jersey and New York and make improved high-speed rail service possible on the Northeast Corridor. Lautenberg helped secure an initial $15 million for Amtrak to begin design and engineering work on the Gateway Tunnel project. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Lautenberg is working to secure an additional $20 million.
Additionally, Sen. Lautenberg in the past helped author major transportation bills that have increased federal transit spending in New Jersey by 50 percent; championed the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail since its inception, securing more than $1.1 billion in funding for the project; secured more than $500 million in federal funding to create the New Jersey Transit Secaucus station, which now serves as a common link between most of New Jersey’s rail lines, allows Bergen County commuters to transfer to Manhattan and laid the groundwork for a new rail line directly to the Meadowlands for major events and in 2008, he signed a law, requiring railroads to improve safety by limiting hours of service, improving grade-crossing safety and requiring new safety technology that will improve safety for rail passengers, automobile drivers and communities near rail lines.
Sen. Lautenberg was also a co-author of the Superstorm Sandy disaster aid package, which provided a total of $13 billion to rebuild and strengthen transportation infrastructure.
“This is not the end of anything, but rather the beginning of a two-year mission to pass new gun safety laws, protect children from toxic chemicals and create more opportunities for working families in New Jersey,” he said. “While I may not be seeking re-election, there is plenty of work to do before the end of this term and I’m going to keep fighting as hard as ever for the people of New Jersey in the U.S. Senate.”