Our roads, bridges, airports, railroads, and waterways serve as the foundation for many jobs and much of our economic activity, so it is essential that we keep our infrastructure in good condition. As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I am working with my colleagues to rebuild our aging infrastructure and reduce existing barriers to expanded commerce.
Roads & Highways
I have long believed that infrastructure improvements create and support many jobs and are vital to our continued economic growth. Last fall, I led a majority of my Republican colleagues in calling for enactment of a long-term highway bill to provide states and municipalities with the resources needed to maintain our infrastructure. I am incredibly disappointed in Congress’ failure to act responsibly but am hopeful that we can pass something this year to provide our states, municipalities, and contractors with significant long-term certainty. As part of this process, I will continue to fight for Wisconsin to get its fair share of funding.
I am also working to provide our local transit systems with the flexibility they need to continue serving Wisconsin communities. Inclusion of the Transit System Flexibility Protection Act (H.R. 3545) in the broader surface transportation bill will ensure that Green Bay and Valley Transit can keep their doors open and offer a vital mode of transportation for many Wisconsin families.
The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund finances the dredging of our ports and harbors, which are vital to sustaining commerce in Northeastern Wisconsin. However, a majority of our harbors are not currently being maintained to their authorized width and depth, leaving billions of dollars in the fund and putting our economic competitiveness at risk.
I have cosponsored the RAMP Act (H.R. 104) to ensure that all harbor maintenance funds are used for their intended purpose and will advocate for this proposal during consideration of the broader transportation bill. Failure to reduce sediment in our waterways will increase shipping costs, stifle our potential to export products, and prevent businesses from creating new jobs.
Navigable Waters & Ballast Water
The Federal Water Pollution Control Act, more commonly known as the Clean Water Act, governs the regulation of the navigable waters of the United States. However, in lieu of new legislation, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have recently moved to expand federal regulation of our water bodies to include small, non-navigable waters like streams and ponds. This unnecessary expansion of authority will threaten small business and farm jobs while also undermining private property rights.
I joined many of my colleagues in calling on EPA and the Army Corps to pursue the legislative process to seek their desired changes. I will not stand by as any Administration seeks to circumvent Congress to expand the reach of our nation’s laws. With our economy just beginning to recover, we cannot reasonably subject Wisconsin families to yet another costly, time-consuming federal permitting process.
I believe that it is vitally important for the government to follow the rules it makes. Therefore, during House debate of broader maritime legislation, I offered a successful amendment to require that any new EPA regulations pertaining to ballast water apply to federal non-military vessels in addition to commercial vessels.
Earlier this year, I joined a majority of my colleagues in voting to pass legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration for four years and modernize our air traffic control system. I am pleased that we have completed work on this long-awaited bill to significantly improve management of our nation’s airports and skies. Now that this work has been completed, I will continue to represent the needs of Green Bay and Outagamie airports on the Committee.