Senate Transportation Bill Passes Committee
Conservation, resilience and climate provisions are critical infrastructure considerations
Lawmakers in the United States Senate today considered and passed a new transportation bill out of the Environment and Public Works committee. The bill includes significant provisions for conserving America’s lands and waters and addressing climate change emissions and impacts.
The following is a statement by Sarah Murdock, director of U.S. resilience and water policy at The Nature Conservancy:
“The Senate’s transportation bill gets it right, carefully balancing America’s infrastructure and environment needs. This is what it looks like to plan for and invest in the future, helping to keep our communities and our infrastructure safe and strong for generations to come.
“The resilience measures in the bill help ensure smart investments of public dollars in infrastructure that will withstand changes to our climate and protect our citizens from some of its most damaging impacts. Sea level rise, extreme weather events, flooding, wildfire and other natural disasters are significant threats to our infrastructure and our communities, so we appreciate forward-thinking approach to account for these risks.
“For the first time ever, the transportation bill includes a definition of ‘natural infrastructure’ and allows for natural features such as wetlands or culvert enlargements to help protect vulnerable areas along with other ‘built’ infrastructure. And, it also contains a first-ever climate title, which will support the development of much-needed infrastructure to advance the use of alternative fuel vehicles and help reduce this now dominant source of harmful climate emissions.
“Another positive example in the bill is its support of building wildlife crossings that will reduce injuries and fatalities from collisions with animals, while also limiting fragmentation of important wildlife habitat. The bill also carefully balances the need to ensure environmental protections with the need for timely project delivery with the “one federal decision” framework for environmental reviews.
“Thanks to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for drafting such a strong and smart transportation bill and passing it out of committee today. We look forward working with Senators as the bill advances to strengthen the bill’s investment in maintaining in our nation’s national forest roads, which are woefully underfunded. We urge a full Senate vote soon, and then ask the House to begin advancing a bill quickly as well. All members of Congress can support this smart balance of infrastructure and the environment represented in this transportation bill, and we hope they will all work for its swift approval.”
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The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.