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Rep. Heck Helps Pass Transformative Infrastructure Package

Jul 1, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, the Moving America Forward Act. The Moving America Forward Act is a $1.5 trillion transformational infrastructure bill to provide jobs and modernize America’s transportation, education, housing, energy and broadband infrastructure. Multiple provisions introduced by Congressman Denny Heck (WA-10) were included in the package.

“The Moving America Forward Act is the comprehensive investment in our nation’s future that we so desperately need,” said Heck. “As we confront this historic economic downturn, we need to put millions of Americans back to work rebuilding our roads, bridges and schools in a thoughtful, sustainable manner.”

The Moving America Forward Act:

  • Promotes housing feasibility in transit-oriented development (TOD): America is facing a nationwide housing shortage that is squeezing renters and homeowners alike. The Moving America Forward Act includes provisions to encourage development near transit to facilitate the construction of more housing, increase transit ridership, and maximize federal investments. These provisions were first proposed by Rep. Denny Heck and Rep. Scott Peters in H.R. 4307, the Build More Housing Near Transit Act.
     
  • Implements rail passenger safety reforms: Following the December 18, 2017 derailment of Amtrak Cascades 501, the National Transportation Safety Board proposed a series of recommendations to prevent future incidents. The DuPont derailment occurred in Washington’s 10th Congressional District, represented in the U.S. House by Rep. Heck.

These NTSB recommendations are included in the Moving America Forward Act:

  • Directs the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to conduct a series of studies and perform research on safety issues relating to speed signs, seat securement mechanisms, and methods for mitigating injuries in the event of a derailment.
  • Requires Amtrak to ensure crewmembers receive the proper training and demonstrate proficiency on the characteristics of a territory by using all resources available to them.
  • Requires railroad carriers to periodically review and update their speed limit action plans.

Rep. Heck introduced the Passenger Rail Safety Act, H.R. 6066, to codify the NTSB recommendations from the DuPont derailment into law.

  • Prohibits Amtrak from using mandatory arbitration: Last year, Amtrak revised its contract of carriage to require customers to resolve any legal action against the company through mandatory arbitration, waiving passengers’ right to sue or join in class action against Amtrak. Since last year, juries have ordered Amtrak to pay $32 million in damages to victims injured in the 2017 derailment in DuPont, Washington.

Rep. Heck proposed reversing this anti-consumer policy in the Ending Passenger Rail Forced Arbitration Act, H.R. 6101.

  • Prioritizes Puget Sound recovery: Puget Sound is the heart of western Washington, and local, tribal, and state entities are hard at work to protect this treasured estuary. This provision brings the resources of the federal government to bear on Puget Sound recovery and sets up a framework for coordination across multiple levels of governments.

Congressman Heck first introduced this provision in H.R. 2247, the Puget SOS Act.

Congressman Heck is a member of the House Financial Services Committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Joint Economic Committee. He serves as co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition’s Housing Taskforce.

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