Courtesy Eddie Zavala,
Bill includes Cuellar’s provisions to eliminate government waste
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) on Thursday helped pass H.R. 5850, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2011, which makes key investments to protect America’s housing needs and makes much needed improvements to our nation’s highways, public transit systems and airports.
The bill also includes Cuellar’s cost-savings amendments that eliminates government waste by prohibiting first-class travel for federal employees, with certain exemptions under current law, and that requires that agencies funded under this bill purchase energy-efficient light bulbs.
“With the passage of this bill, we can repair and modernize our nation’s aging air and highway systems, thereby creating economic growth and ensuring that travelers feel safer than ever,” said Congressman Cuellar. “At the same time, there has never been a more important time to cut costs and reduce waste where necessary, and unnecessary first-class travel on the taxpayer dime is unacceptable.”
The bill provides more than $45.2 billion in funding to maintain, upgrade and repair the nation’s aging highway infrastructure, estimated to create 142,000 additional jobs across the nation, while also funding $11.3 billion to support bus and rail projects to help improve public transportation that will support an additional 20,000 jobs.
The bill, which is below last year’s spending and below President Obama’s request, is funded at $67.4 billion and passed the House Thursday by a vote of 251-167. Other provisions include:
Community Development Block Grants: allocates $4.35 billion to help fund community and economic development projects in communities across the country.
Passenger Rail Grant Program: allocates $1.4 billion to expand and improve intercity passenger rail and develop a robust national high speed rail system.
Foreclosure Mitigation and Housing Counseling Funds: includes $113 million to provide foreclosure counseling
Veterans Affairs Housing Vouchers: includes $75 million to provide 10,000 new housing vouchers to eliminate veteran homelessness.
Highway Safety Programs: $841.2 million for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to make America’s roads safer.
Emergency Relief Program: This emergency relief program will provide funding assistance to States that have had roads damaged by natural disasters.
High Speed Rail Implementation: The high speed and intercity passenger rail program will help bring 21st century passenger rail system to America.