Sen. Franken Fought for Provisions in Bill to Fix Duluth Logging Truck Issue, Improve Rail Safety, Restore Important Support for Farmers & Businesses
WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 07, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) released the following statement after the Senate passed a bipartisan transportation bill that funds federal infrastructure projects for five years. The legislation includes a fix for Duluth’s logging truck issue, which you can download a video of Sen. Franken speaking about here.
The bill, which was also passed in the House of Representatives earlier on Thursday, is now expected to be signed into law by President Obama.
“Upgrading our infrastructure creates jobs, improves safety, and strengthens the overall health of our economy,” said Sen. Franken. “I’m pleased that Congress has finally passed a bipartisan, long-term transportation bill that gives state and local officials in Minnesota and across the country the certainty they need to plan and invest in our infrastructure. The bill increases support for highways, public and tribal transportation programs, and makes critical improvements to rail safety.
“The legislation does a lot of good things for Minnesota, such as resolving a logging truck safety problem that Duluth residents have dealt with for too long. It also undoes crop insurance cuts that would have hurt Minnesota farmers, and helps our businesses by renewing the Export-Import Bank.
“Counties, cities, communities, and businesses all across Minnesota have waited far too long for long-term transportation funding, and I’m pleased we were finally able to get this bill across the finish line.”
During his time in the Senate, Franken has fought for stronger investments in transportation infrastructure in Minnesota and across the country. He played a key role in ensuring that a public safety problem plaguing residents of Duluth was fixed. Over the summer, he pressed Senate leaders for a limited waiver to let logging trucks travel on Interstate 35 instead of through downtown Duluth. He also supported a provision written by Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) to make that change.
The legislation, called the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, is a bipartisan, five-year bill that improves surface transportation infrastructure and enhances federal safety programs for highways, public transportation, passenger rail, and more. Last month, Sen. Franken called for higher funding levels than what was in earlier versions of the bill. And he also successfully pressed Senate leaders to increase investments in tribal transportation.
The FAST Act also restores the Export-Import Bank, which supports Minnesota businesses bringing their goods to foreign markets. The Bank’s authority expired earlier this year, severing an important link between small and large businesses in Minnesota and other countries.
In addition, the bill eliminates cuts to the federal crop insurance program, which were included in budget legislation passed earlier this year. These cuts would have hurt the livelihoods of Minnesota farmers and their families.