WASHINGTON, DCU.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) issued the following statement after the Senate passed the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act(FAST Act), a five-year, $305 billion highway and transportation compromise.  Booker is the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, responsible for oversight of passenger and freight rail, and surface transportation in the United States. Booker voted in support of the agreement which included much of the legislation authored by Booker and senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) Railroad Reform, Enhancement, and Efficiency Act(S. 1626).

 “The transportation bill passed today was a bipartisan compromise that marks an important step forward in my efforts to preserve critical funding to improve crumbling infrastructure in our region and prioritize the safety of New Jerseyeans using our roads and rails. I’m pleased that it’s a more impactful bill than the earlier Senate version I had opposed. And, for the first time ever, rail is being included and prioritized in the surface transportation bill. The deal includes overdue increases in Amtrak funding and rail financing that will support the long-term sustainability of passenger and freight rail in New Jersey and across the Northeast Corridor. This will also allow greater flexibility and financing to allow critical large-scale public works projects to be funded.

 “I’ve fought hard to increase the funding provided by this bill, and to ensure it prioritizes investment in both passenger and freight rail infrastructure. We eliminated a proposed $50 million cut to New Jersey Transit and included $199 million in funding for commuter railroads to implement lifesaving Positive Train Control technology. While I hoped the legislation would go further in improving truck safety, I’m pleased that earlier dangerous proposals that would have compromised highway safety were kept out of the final bill.  

 “While this bill is not perfect, it includes important changes that remove barriers and unlock funding for large-scale infrastructure priorities, which will help get projects off the ground and put people to work.”

 Earlier this month, Sen. Booker sent a letter urging House-Senate conferees negotiating the final compromise to focus on our nation’s crumbling infrastructure.