Transportation and Infrastructure
Residents of the 10th Congressional District need and deserve reliable roadways, safe and secure bridges, schools with modern technology, and a basic infrastructure backbone that allows every person and business to function at their best.
Representative Denny Heck has several transportation and infrastructure proposals and projects underway to bring the necessary changes to the 10th Congressional District to help our regional economy thrive.
NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE BANK
Congressman Denny Heck supports the creation of a National Infrastructure Development Bank to leverage private dollars and invest in critical infrastructure projects nationwide. Greater federal investment is vital to create a 21st-century infrastructure policy that modernizes our roads, bridges, mass transit, water and sewer systems, energy grids, telecommunications networks, and other projects.
In many areas around the country, and especially in the 10th Congressional District, the traffic around military bases can often be unbearable. The congestion affects the military readiness of the troops, clogs up the moving of goods to market and delays everything from a person’s daily trip to the office to getting to the beach for a family vacation. Either trying to get to work or trying to get away from work, commuters can’t win. Infrastructure developments to address this problem are needed now, and will be needed much more in the future.
The only existing DoD program that provides funding for public highway improvements is the Defense Access Roads program, a program limited by outdated and restrictive eligibility criteria and designed at a time when bases were only expected to be in relatively undeveloped regions.
In July 2014, Rep. Denny Heck introduced the bipartisan COMMUTE Act with Rep Walter Jones (R-NC). The COMMUTE Act, which stands for “Creating Opportunities for Military Members to Use Transportation Efficiently,” would replace the Defense Access Roads program with a more streamlined, competitive grant program.
Grants for the construction of transportation improvements in military communities would be awarded through the DoD’s Office of Economic Adjustment.
To be eligible for this grant program, transportation infrastructure projects would need to be near a base designated as a military growth installation by the DoD’s Office of Economic Adjustment.. They would also need to be in an urban area, based on the 2010 census.
The new program also requires base master plans to be developed in coordination with the local area’s transportation planning process so those of you working in the surrounding communities are involved.
By speeding up the process and updating it to fit our nation’s current needs, Congress can make the adequate fixes to get these high-priority projects off the blueprints and turn them into roads we can use.
Heck discusses the COMMUTE Act on the House floor
INVESTING IN INFRASTRUCTURE TO KEEP OUR ECONOMY MOVING
The 10th Congressional District includes the port of Olympia, part of the port of Tacoma, and many employees of the port of Shelton. That is over 100,000 family-wage jobs. Almost one-third of our nation’s GDP is a result of international trade, including 1.4 trillion dollars-worth of goods each year via our nation’s ports.
In 2014 and 2016, Rep. Denny Heck supported the bipartisan Water Resources Reform and Development Act, commonly known as WRRDA. This bill modernizes our nation's water infrastructure, including our nation’s ports and waterways, by authorizing new and necessary Army Corps of Engineers projects. And the bill keeps costs under control by getting rid of old, out-of-date projects.
Rep. Heck pushed very hard for the final bill to include the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act—or WIFIA— which would provide our communities with access to low-cost, long-term financing needed to address aging water infrastructure and ensure water needs are met for future generations.
Stormwater infrastructure goes beyond the numerous, critical environmental benefits such as reduced flooding and improved green spaces. It means economic benefits as well. Family wage jobs across multiple public works sectors, better property values, and cost savings over the long-term.
During debate to determine federal funding for energy and water programs, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted a proposal from Rep. Heck which provides the Army Corps of Engineers a $500,000 increase for their operations and maintenence budget in order to encourage an examination of the latest, most cost-effective technologies and techniques to reduce stormwater runoff.
As a supporter of the Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act and the Green Stormwater Infrastructure Financing Investment Act, Rep. Denny Heck advocates for funding inventive stormwater strategies that allow communities to plan, develop, and implement stormwater control projects. The Innovative Stormwater Infrastructure Act would establish “Centers of Excellence” for different regions that would conduct research, develop recommendations, and provide training and technical assistance to implement management practices for stormwater control and management. The Green Stormwater Infrastructure Financing Investment Act would create financing incentives to help state, Tribal, and local governments invest in Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI).
“Stormwater runoff is the top contributor to pollution in Puget Sound, but our nation’s largest estuary isn’t the only place impacted by stormwater. Across the country, in every community, rain mixes with chemicals, oils, and other harmful pollutants to flood into our waterways. A stronger federal investment in the prevention of runoff allows for the implementation of cutting-edge solutions and puts our communities on a course towards healthy waters for everyone.” - Congressman Denny Heck
STATE ROUTE 167
Economic development in the 10th Congressional District depends heavily on the completion of the freight corridor for the Port of Tacoma, SR 167.
Rep. Denny Heck convened the SR 167 Completion Coalition and have worked closely with the members to get this important roadway between Puyallup’s SR 161 and Tacoma’s SR 509 completed. The SR 167 Completion Coalition includes input from business, labor, local government, and local residents. The mission of the coalition is to put pressure on state lawmakers to fund the $1.5 billion project that has been overdue for 30 years.
SR 167 alone would create almost one thousand jobs, and the potential to create 80,000 permanent jobs statewide once it’s up and running. The area has waited three decades for the road to be completed and Rep. Heck believes its progress is critical for our region’s economy.
On July 16, 2015, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law the $16 billion transportation package. The package included complete of SR 167, and as a whole is expected to create around 200,000 jobs.