As Ranking Member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the U.S. House of Representatives, DeFazio leads Democrats on the Committee, which has broad jurisdiction over the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) (including our Nation's highways, public transit, rail systems, airports, pipelines, and seaports), the U.S. Coast Guard, Amtrak, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the General Services Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Economic Development Administration, and other agencies.
DeFazio has served as Ranking Member of the Committee since January 2015 and been a member of the Committee since he was elected in 1986. During his time on the Committee, he has served as Chairman or Ranking Member of four of the six subcommittees: Aviation, Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, Highways and Transit, and Water Resources and Environment. DeFazio has taken a lead role on several multi-billion-dollar surface transportation and FAA reauthorization bills, and worked to strengthen safety and worker fairness standards, including Buy America.
Over the years, DeFazio has established a reputation as a leader on transportation issues. He believes the United States must invest in a robust, multimodal transportation system if we are to remain in league with our competitor nations around the world. DeFazio believes that transportation infrastructure is at the heart of the U.S. economy and our communities and businesses depend on safe and efficient roads, ports, planes, pipelines, and public transit. In a time when there are nearly 150,000 structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges on our roads, trucks are being rerouted due to weight restrictions, and people are wasting time and gasoline sitting in traffic, DeFazio believes the U.S. must do better.
In the 114th Congress, DeFazio led efforts to increase investment in surface transportation as a lead drafter and negotiator on the FAST Act (P.L. 114-94), a five-year surface transportation reauthorization act that provides $281 billion in guaranteed funding for highways, highway safety, and transit infrastructure, and authorizes and makes improvements to Amtrak and DOT's hazardous materials safety program. DeFazio was also a lead drafter and negotiator of the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA) (Title I of P.L. 114-322), which authorizes funding for Army Corps of Engineers navigation, flood control, and environmental restoration projects.
In addition, DeFazio worked closely with Chairman Shuster to enact bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Coast Guard and DOT's pipeline safety program. DeFazio led the bipartisan opposition to Chairman Shuster's plan to privatize the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Air Traffic Control system. When that legislation stalled, DeFazio worked with the Chairman and other Committee Members to enact the FAA Extension, Safety and Security Act, which funds the FAA through September 2017 and includes several time-sensitive safety and security provisions.