Press Release

Rep. Castor Hails Passage of INVEST in America Act, the Landmark Transportation and Infrastructure Package, Includes Nearly $20M for Tampa Bay Area Projects

INVEST in America Act will create good-paying jobs modernizing and rebuilding our roads, bridges, transit, rail, and drinking water and wastewater systems

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Washington, July 1, 2021 | comments

Today, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) applauded House passage of the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act, which includes nearly $20M in funding for Tampa Bay area projects. Rep. Castor worked with local communities to prioritize projects that improve safety, reduce congestion, and expand transit.  The INVEST in America Act makes transformational investments in America’s highways, roads, bridges, transit, rail, and water infrastructure to create jobs, modernize our infrastructure and reduce carbon pollution.

“The INVEST in America Act will address outdated and congested roads and bridges, and build safer, cleaner and more resilient transportation options for our neighbors across the Tampa Bay area. Plus, we will clean up Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico with historic investments to help our local communities keep pollution from overflowing into the Bay and Gulf during extreme rain events and too frequent water line breaks.

“Rebuilding our infrastructure is especially important to Florida, where 408 bridges and over 3,564 miles of highway are in poor condition. Since 2011, commute times have increased by 11.6 percent in Florida and on average, each driver pays $425 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair. Our neighbors have suffered shoddy infrastructure and a lack of investment in transit for too long. To protect what makes the Sunshine State special and grow good-paying jobs in Tampa, we are strengthening the investments that support our economy, including a modern, more resilient infrastructure.

“I championed funding to address some of the most urgent needs in Tampa and Hillsborough County that will improve safety and mobility for our growing hometown. Thanks to my partners at the City of Tampa and HART, I am confident that together we will improve the lives of local residents and workers, and continue to connect our neighborhoods with safer streets, more convenient transit, more sidewalks and bike trails that were announced last September in the $24 million federal BUILD grant, including the extension of the Tampa Riverwalk into West Tampa.

“Specifically, I fought to direct over $5 million to rehabilitate the Cass Street Bridge in downtown Tampa to better connect our neighbors with easier access to jobs and local services in this diverse and growing heart of our hometown.

“The INVEST in America Act also will extend and modernize the existing historic Tampa Streetcar route with the $7.7 million to benefit hundreds of thousands of downtown residents, workers and visitors, reduce the carbon footprint of Tampa’s transportation system and avoid parking headaches. This is a win for our neighbors who depend on this service and a win for our environment. I am thrilled to build on our success over a decade ago when we extended the Streetcar as part of the Recovery Act.

“Finally, to aid transit riders during hot days and exposure to the elements, $7 million is on its way to HART to revitalize, upgrade and expand bus shelters, including new security lighting powered with clean, solar energy. This will provide a safe space for HART patrons, including our older neighbors and individuals with disabilities, to stand and sit while waiting for their bus. I am proud to make our neighborhoods safer, improve air quality and keep the Tampa community special for decades to come.  We will draw down millions of more dollars in the years ahead for modern transit, electric buses and clean water projects.

“The INVEST In America Act includes crucial investments to decarbonize the transportation sector, which continues to be the largest source of carbon pollution in America. With major investments in electric vehicle charging stations, zero-emission buses, cleaner public transit options, and pedestrian and bike infrastructure, this is the most climate-forward surface transportation bill we’ve had in Congress. It includes more than $8 billion to reduce carbon pollution across America. It invests more than $6 billion to strengthen transportation systems before the next extreme weather disaster strikes and puts in place new flood safeguards for transportation infrastructure. Finally, it emphasizes the need for environmental justice, setting aside $3 billion to start reconnecting historically-excluded communities that were once segregated by arterial highways. My colleagues also voted in favor of two of my amendments, which will support local investments in zero-emission vehicles and help cities track the harmful impact of air pollution on at-risk neighborhoods.

“The INVEST in America Act is a promise to our neighbors to provide good-paying, family-sustaining jobs that will better connect our neighborhoods and invest in the clean energy solutions that bring our infrastructure into the 21st century.”

Projects championed by Rep. Castor and included in the INVEST in America Act:

Cass Street Bridge Rehabilitation
City of Tampa
$5.116 million

InVision Tampa Streetcar
City of Tampa, co-funded by the Florida Department of Transportation and Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority
$7.7 million

HART Bus Shelter Revitalization and Expansion
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority   
$6.99 million

Further provisions in this comprehensive package include:

Roads, Bridges, and Safety: $343 billion

o Delivers better roads and bridges faster by increasing investment by 54 percent, with an

emphasis on fixing existing infrastructure.

o Dedicates $32 billion for bridge funding to ensure bridges in communities of all sizes are safer,

more reliable, and more resilient.

o Invests $4 billion in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, helping the U.S. shift to the next

generation of clean vehicles.

o Dedicates $8.3 billion for activities targeted to reduce carbon pollution and provides $6.2

billion for mitigation and resiliency improvements; also advances the development and

utilization of green construction materials.

o Makes our roads safer with a significant boost to roadway safety programs, record levels of

investment in walking and cycling infrastructure, complete streets planning and smarter road

design, and safe routes to schools.

o Focuses transportation planning to promote mobility and facilitate access to jobs and other

essential services; and reconnects communities that were divided by highways with a new $3

billion program to correct planning mistakes of the past.

Transit: $109 billion

o Makes record investments in transit to increase routes, reduce the transit maintenance backlog,

and provide more frequent service, resulting in better options for riders, improved

environmental outcomes, and increased access to jobs and essential destinations.

o Scales up investment in zero-emission transit vehicles, supporting fleet conversion to reduce

local air pollution and related health impacts. These investments are paired with strong Buy America requirements and provisions for workforce training to ensure America can compete in

the clean energy economy.

o Funds and incentivizes transit-oriented development to make transit more convenient to where

people live and work and builds sustainable, walkable communities.

o Increases funding for rural transit by more than 50 percent in the first year and sets aside $50

million a year for rural persistent poverty communities. Creates a pilot to improve flexibility in

paratransit trips, allowing for brief stops such as childcare pick-ups and drop-offs, and short

trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, or bank.

o Creates a new reduced-fare pilot program to improve access for low-income riders. Doubles

the set aside for urban area formula dollars based on low-income population and deep poverty

census tracts, and directs transit agencies to serve these populations.

o Streamlines the Capital Investment Grant program to improve project delivery, reduce red tape,

and achieve cost savings for transit agencies.

o Creates new programs to address several pressing transit challenges—improving compliance

with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and addressing transit deserts by providing

expanded transit service to unserved and underserved communities.

Passenger and Freight Rail: $95 billion

o Triples funding for Amtrak to $32 billion, allowing for enhanced service, ADA upgrades, and

investments to renew and support service on the Northeast Corridor and long-distance and

state-supported routes.

o Provides funding for corridor planning and development of high-speed rail projects, reducing

traffic congestion and shortening travel times.

o Improves rail safety by addressing highway-rail grade crossings needs, requiring additional rail

safety inspectors, addressing trespasser and suicide fatalities, and eliminating gaps in railroad

safety.

o Creates a federal blocked crossing program to collect data and enforce a 10-minute blocked

crossing limit.

Drinking Water Infrastructure & Assistance: $117 billion

o Authorizes $53 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, the primary source of

federal funding for safe drinking water infrastructure.

o Authorizes $45 billion to fully replace lead service lines throughout the nation. As many as 10

million lead service lines are currently in use, including an estimated 400,000 schools and child

facilities with lead components.

o Strengthens drinking water standards and improves the Environmental Protection Agency’s

ability to set those standards. It directs EPA to set health-protective national standards for

PFAS, 1,4-dioxane, and microcystin toxin within two years.

o Provides assistance to low-income Americans with their water bills by creating two permanent

assistance programs and authorizing them at $8 billion.

o Promotes near-term customer debt relief by authorizing $4 billion to reduce or eliminate debt

incurred since March 2020 and prohibiting water systems receiving this funding from disconnecting the service of eligible residential customers as a result of non-payment for a

five-year period.

Wastewater Infrastructure: $51.25 billion

o Authorizes $40 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, the primary source of federal

funding for clean water infrastructure.

o Includes $2 billion for projects to capture, treat, or reuse sewer overflows or stormwater—

helping keep pollution out of local rivers and lakes—and $2.5 billion for state water pollution

control programs.

o Permanently codifies the clean water “green reserve” to prioritize investments in green

infrastructure, water- and energy-efficiency, and other efforts to make utilities more resilient to

climate change. Also dedicates $1 billion toward alternative water source and water recycling

projects to augment existing water supplies.

o Provides critical technical assistance to small, rural, and Tribal communities that often struggle

to afford the costs of planning new infrastructure projects and to address local water quality

challenges.

o Establishes a new clean water grant program to invest in communities with failing septic

systems and prioritizes funding to those communities that lack access to adequate sewage

treatment systems.

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