WASHINGTON—U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, Fla., helped pass H.R. 2, The Moving Forward Act, which would modernize America’s crumbling infrastructure. The bill includes four Murphy-led provisions to enhance federal oversight of highway projects like I-4 Ultimate, improve conditions for postal workers in high-temperature states like Florida, strengthen Orlando’s modeling and simulation sector, and modernize private activity bonds, which are used by state and local governments to finance projects that benefit the public.
“For the first time in years, the House passed historic legislation to rebuild our country’s decaying infrastructure and create good-paying jobs for millions of American workers. I’m proud to have led efforts to improve how the federal government oversees critical transportation projects like I-4 so they can be delivered safely, on-time and on-budget,” said Murphy. “I also secured other important priorities for Central Florida in the bill like improved working protections for postal workers, support for our modeling and simulation sector, and a new tool to attract private investment in our community. As our region continues to grow, I’ll keep pushing for more federal investments in innovative projects that strengthen Central Florida’s position as a world-class destination with a world-class infrastructure.”
The four initiatives spearheaded by Murphy that were included in the Moving Forward Act are:
- An amendment directing the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to implement recommendations from a May 2020 report prepared by the USDOT Office of Inspector General at the request of Murphy and fellow Central Florida representatives Darren Soto and Val Demings. The report examined the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) oversight of the I-4 Ultimate project and identified gaps where FHWA guidance did not sufficiently require the implementation of a holistic risk management process to evaluate, address and mitigate potential risks before those issues develop into negative outcomes such as project delays, cost overruns and worker deaths. The amendment would require the Inspector General’s recommendations to be implemented in connection with future highway projects in Florida and nationwide.
- An amendment urging the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), which is in the process of replacing its aging delivery vehicle fleet, to take all reasonable steps to ensure that its vehicles are equipped with climate control units to protect the health and safety of its mail carriers, especially those working in areas of the country that are subject to extreme temperatures. Murphy offered this successful amendment with Rep. Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif., in response to a heat-related death of a USPS worker in California and to reports of USPS drivers in Florida suffering from heat stress, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
- An amendment urging USDOT to utilize modeling and simulation technology to analyze federally-funded highway and public transit projects in order to ensure the proposed projects will increase transportation capacity and safety, alleviate congestion, and reduce travel time and environmental impact. Murphy offered this amendment with Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., her fellow co-chair of the Congressional Modeling and Simulation Caucus. Central Florida is an international leader in the modeling and simulation industry.
- The text of Murphy’s bipartisan bill, called the Modernizing Agricultural and Manufacturing Bonds Act (MAMBA), which amends the federal tax code’s provisions regarding private activity bonds (PABs). PABs are tax-exempt securities issued by or on behalf of a local or state government in order to attract financing for private projects that have a public purpose, such as Brightline. MAMBA, which Murphy introduced with Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Ill., would help modern manufacturing firms and first-time farmers use PABs to obtain the capital they need to expand their businesses, invest in new equipment, and hire more workers.
The Moving Forward Act includes:
- nearly $500 billion for transportation infrastructure,
- $130 billion for school infrastructure,
- $10 billion for child care facilities,
- $100 billion for affordable housing,
- $25 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and other programs to ensure all communities have access to clean drinking water, and
- $70 billion for the electric grid to expand renewable energy and strengthen existing infrastructure.
A summary of the bill can be found here.