Wicker Discusses ‘Innovation in Surface Transportation’ Bill

Miss. Senator Announces Intention to Reintroduce Bipartisan Measure

March 3, 2015

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today highlighted his proposal to provide local governments with better access to the federal transportation program.

“I have heard from many city and county officials who are excited about this concept,” Wicker said. “The program would dedicate a portion of federal funding to create competitive grants available to mayors, county officials, and local leaders. The proposal has a great deal of grassroots support and should be included in any long-term transportation proposal moving forward.”

Wicker’s comments were made during a committee hearing examining the budgets for the Department of Commerce and the Department of Transportation. Witnesses at today’s hearing included Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.

Wicker plans to reintroduce the “Innovation in Surface Transportation Act” later this month with Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.

The legislation would allow local jurisdictions to compete for a larger share of federal funds on a competitive basis. Local jurisdictions, metropolitan planning organizations, transit providers, and others would be in charge of developing projects for consideration. Instead of federal bureaucrats making the decisions, a panel of local stakeholders would decide which projects to approve based on how the project could improve the transportation system, promote innovation, and spur economic development.

Today, more than 250 Chambers of Commerce Executives from all 50 states sent a letter to Congress requesting action to fund the nation's transportation system and empower local communities with more authority over both federal funding and decision-making.