Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Bill Heads to House Floor for Final Passage
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17), a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, secured infrastructure and housing wins in the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) funding bill. Included in the legislation are several provisions to help Illinois’ 17th Congressional District – including language to promote Quad-Cities-to-Chicago passenger rail and to combat exposure to lead in drinking water.
“This bill not only invests in the American people, it invests in Illinois and our communities,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “For years, I’ve worked to make passenger rail a reality from the Quad-Cities to Chicago – and this bill gets us one step closer to the finish line. We also must work to improve housing for Illinoisans, and I’m proud of the provisions I included to ensure families are raising children in safe and healthy homes.”
Watch her remarks by clicking HERE.
Prior to her appointment to the House Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Bustos served on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for six years and helped pass a bipartisan five-year Highway Bill. She has also been a tireless advocate for passenger rail. In 2016, after delays from the Rauner Administration, she announced that the Illinois Department of Transportation and Federal Rail Administration agreed to an extension for the state of Illinois to use $177 million in federal funding for a Quad-Cities-to-Chicago passenger rail project. Congresswoman Bustos also secured a commitment from the Trump Administration to work with Illinois to complete the passenger rail line. That’s why in this legislation, Congresswoman Bustos included a provision that would support a multi-year extension of the federal funding for the Quad-Cities-to-Chicago rail line. Building on her work with the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill last year, Congresswoman Bustos also secured $10 million for aircraft pilot and aviation maintenance workforce development programs to address the skills gap in the industry.
Additionally, Congresswoman Bustos included several provisions to help keep folks safe in their homes. First, she included language requiring the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Justice (DOJ) to work together and report to Congress on their efforts to prevent sexual harassment in public housing. Second, Congresswoman Bustos included a provision that recommends carbon monoxide detectors in rental housing that receives funding from HUD. And after securing $4 million in forgivable federal loans to help the Galesburg community replace lead water service lines, Congresswoman Bustos secured language in this legislation to establish a pilot program to provide grants for state and local governments to identify and address sources of lead in drinking water in federally-assisted housing.
Finally, Congresswoman Bustos understands the challenges Illinoisans face with affordable housing. That’s why in this legislation, she included funding for the Rural Housing Stability grant program – which will help address homelessness and housing affordability in rural communities. Last week in a letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Congresswoman Bustos pressed him on the issue – because despite the program’s authorization in 2009, these grants have never been awarded, and Secretary Carson has further delayed the implementation.
Other priorities included in the legislation are below:
SAFE, AFFORDABLE HOUSING – To help keep families safe, this bill includes funding for mitigation of lead-based paint, water and other hazards. It also includes $3.6 billion for Community Development Block Grants – a $300 million increase from last fiscal year.
ROBUST INFRASTRUCTURE – The appropriations bill increases funding for TIGER and BUILD grants and invests in railroad improvements.
SAFE TRANSPORTATION – This legislation includes $1.6 billion for FAA Aviation Safety and creates a new Highly Automated Systems Safety Center of Excellence. It also includes funding to ensure that energy products are transported safely.