Press Releases

Congressman Smith Reintroduces Bill to Improve Freight Infrastructure & Transportation

Washington, D.C. – This week, Congressman Smith reintroduced the Freight Infrastructure Reinvestment Act, H.R. 3769, a bill that will support improvements to infrastructure and transportation throughout our national freight mobility network:

September 14, 2017

“Freight infrastructure is critical to our future growth and competitiveness,” said Congressman Smith. “Investments in our freight transportation system support our continued economic development by expanding our capacity to transport goods and providing opportunities for job creation across the country.”

The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, passed by Congress in 2015, supports regionally significant freight and highway projects with funds distributed through a grant program and formula funding. The Freight Infrastructure Reinvestment Act (FIRA) of 2017 will expand upon the investments of the FAST Act by creating a sustainable national freight discretionary grant program supported by a dedicated funding source.

With the creation of a National Freight Mobility Infrastructure Fund, FIRA will administer strategic grants for infrastructure projects across our national freight mobility network. Funded through a minimal one percent fee on the shipment of freight cargo, this program will invest in freight projects that improve the efficiency, capacity, and safety of our freight mobility system. FIRA will support projects like the construction of highway ramps to carry freight, the reinforcement of roads and bridges for heavier traffic and vehicle volume, the improvement of marine terminals facilities used for freight, and the expansion of rail and highway tunnels to accommodate increased cargo.

“Our economy depends on an efficient network of ports, roads and railroads,” said Dick Marzano, co-chair of The Northwest Seaport Alliance. “This proposal will provide our nation an economic boost by enabling much-needed investments in the US freight system.  We appreciate Rep. Smith’s leadership and consistent advocacy for freight.”

“Investments in freight movement are critical to the success of our ports,” said Kristin Meira, Executive Director of the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association. “Congressman Smith’s bill would provide a much needed funding source to support cargo movement in the Northwest, one of the most trade dependent regions in the nation.  We appreciate his dedication to ensuring our region's continued success in the global marketplace.”

“While the FAST Act’s freight-focused INFRA program provided a first step in addressing multimodal freight needs, much more is needed, as evidenced by the program’s oversubscription: in its initial round, applicants requested $13 for every $1 available,” said Elaine Nessle, Executive Director of Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors. “Congressman Smith’s proposed freight mobility infrastructure fee and National Freight Mobility Infrastructure Fund could provide the next iteration of funding for critical freight projects.”  

The Freight Infrastructure Reinvestment Act of 2017 has been cosponsored by Representatives Albio Sires and Keith Ellison. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for further consideration.

to protect Dreamers.

Rescinding the DACA program will hurt more than 17,500 Washingtonians who have been granted DACA in Washington state.[1] Like many immigrants before them, these brave young people strengthen our economy and are valued members of our communities. DACA has allowed these young people to pursue their dreams to become teachers, doctors, and entrepreneurs. In addition, the program has provided these people the ability to support themselves and their families, relieving the fear of being ripped from the country where they grew up.

Elimination of this critical program will cost Washington state an estimated $1.1 billion in annual gross domestic product (GDP).[2] Nationally, the cruel end of this program will cost $460.3 billion in GDP over the next 10 years. Moreover, a majority of Americans—78 percent—support giving Dreamers the chance to stay permanently in the United States.[3] It is clear that ending this program is an unconscionable mistake. We urge you to take immediate steps to reverse course, and lessen the consequences of your decision.

All DACA recipients received a promise from the federal government that as long as they followed the law, the information they provided to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would not be used in immigration enforcement. Any change to this policy would have a chilling effect on individuals coming forward to pursue legal status for which they may be eligible. We strongly urge you to honor the promise the United States made to Dreamers who came out of the shadows and to not use information provided by DACA recipients to take enforcement actions.

Moreover, our state has long served as a leader in welcoming and protecting immigrants. Washington state has led the way to make certain that all residents have access to driver’s licenses, improved access to higher education for Dreamers as well as access to health care for children and refugees. Our economy and society are better for Washington state’s determination to create an inclusive society.

We urge you to reconsider your decision to repeal DACA and make sure that Dreamers’ application information is not provided to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In addition, we demand that you urge your Republican colleagues to work with us on bipartisan legislation that will provide protection to Dreamers and ensure their legal status does not lapse.

As you consider your next steps, we invite you to meet with Dreamers in our home state. We are certain that if you get to know these young people as we have, you will understand why your immediate action to protect these people is necessary.

Sincerely,

 

Patty Murray                                                               Pramila Jayapal

United States Senator                                                 Member of Congress

 

Maria Cantwell                                                           Adam Smith                           

United States Senator                                                 Member of Congress                         

           

Rick Larsen                                                                 Suzan DelBene

Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress  

           

Denny Heck                                                                Derek Kilmer

Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress

 

cc: Jeff Sessions, Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice

Elaine Duke, Acting Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

 


[1] U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Number of Form I-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, by Fiscal Year, Quarter, Intake, Biometrics and Case Status Fiscal Year 2012-2017 (Jun. 8, 2017) available at: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Resources/Reports%20and%20Studies/Immigration%20Forms%20Data/All%20Form%20Types/DACA/daca_performancedata_fy2017_qtr2.pdf.

[2] Nicole Prchal Svajlenka, Tom Jawetz & Angie Bautista-Chavez, A New Threat to DACA Could Cost States Billions of Dollars, Center for American Progress (2017) available at: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/news/2017/07/21/436419/new-threat-daca-cost-states-billions-dollars.

[3] Morning Consult & Politico, Morning Consult National Tracking Poll #170409, April 20-24, 2017, Crosstabulation Results, available at: https://morningconsult.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/170409_crosstabs_Politico_v1_AG-2.pdf

"Ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is irresponsible and contradicts who we are as Americans. DACA provides deportation relief to almost 800,000 immigrants, nearly 18,000 of who live in Washington state. These immigrant youth, known as DREAMers, represent a generation of immigrants who were brought to our country as children, through no fault of their own. Today, DREAMers are actively pursuing the American dream in many fields, including serving as members of the Armed Forces, and becoming teachers and doctors. President Trump’s decision to end DACA breaks our country’s promise of deportation relief to these law-abiding immigrant youth. This decision will only serve to tear families apart and undermine the important contributions of these young people to our country and our economy.   

"I am committed to supporting immigrant youth and keeping families together, and will fight with my colleagues in Congress, along with Governor Inslee and Attorney General Ferguson in Washington state to defend DACA. In response to the President’s failure of leadership in ending DACA, Congress must keep our country’s promise to DREAMers and stay true to our American values." 

“On Labor Day, we pay tribute to the American worker and their role in supporting a strong economy. In an ever-changing world, the contributions of the labor community make certain that the United States remains globally competitive. As the son of a union baggage handler at SeaTac Airport, I know firsthand how labor unions have helped generations of America’s working families thrive. 

“We must show America’s workers the same devotion they have shown to our society. Growing economic inequality is one of the defining challenges facing our economy and our country. The commitment of the labor movement to ensuring equality of opportunity is closely aligned with our efforts to enact legislation that will protect living wage jobs, lower health care costs, and ensure that future generations of Americans have the ability to build a better life for themselves and their families.” 

“President Trump’s decision to bring an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program disrespects America’s values. DACA has provided relief to nearly 800,000 immigrant youth, protecting individuals from deportation who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own. Known as DREAMers, these young people serve in our military, attend school, give back to our communities, and contribute to the American social fabric. After promising DACA recipients they could ‘rest easy,’ President Trump’s decision to end DACA defies our history as a nation of immigrants. I have long supported the DACA program and will continue to do everything in my power to protect DREAMers from deportation.

“DREAMers came out of the shadows and willingly gave their information to the government, trusting that they would be protected. Now their futures are in peril due the President’s heartless action. The Trump Administration’s nationalistic immigration policies continue to threaten our country’s principles, undermine the economy, and tear families apart.”