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Rush Touts 1st District Transportation Funding, EV Investments, Vehicle Safety Bill Passed House As Part Of INVEST in America Act

July 2, 2021

Bill also includes funding to replace all lead service lines in the country; Illinois has the most lead water pipes of any state and Chicago has the most of any city

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) applauded key provisions he secured in the INVEST in America Act, a $715 billion five-year surface transportation reauthorization bill that passed the House of Representatives on Thursday.

"It is evident and undeniable that our nation's infrastructure is due for a massive upgrade. The State of Illinois received a C- grade on its Infrastructure Report Card this year; Chicago has 400,000 lead service lines — the most of any city in the nation — and Illinois has more than any other state. Crumbling roads and bridges, insufficient public transportation, and unsafe drinking water affect all of us, but they affect minority and low-income communities most," said Rep. Rush.

"I am proud that the INVEST Act includes a number of provisions I fought for, including funding for transportation projects in the 1st District, provisions to replace lead pipes and ensure clean and affordable drinking water, robust investments in electric vehicle infrastructure — with a focus on disadvantaged communities — and my legislation to ensure crash-avoidance systems are not hindered by encoded racial biases. This sweeping legislation will help us remain competitive in the 21st-century economy while tackling the climate crisis and making daily life safer and easier for Americans everywhere."

Included in the bill were funding for seven transportation projects in the 1st Congressional district, which Rush previously submitted to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, including:

  • $1,500,000 for the installation of a multiuse path on 80th Ave from 191st to 183rd Street in Tinley Park.
  • $4,800,000 for the construction of an I-294 interchange for Crestwood and Robbins.
  • $900,000 for the Pace Pulse South Halsted Line to enhance bus service to the south suburbs and South Side of Chicago.
  • $2,500,000 to reconstruct Pulaski Road from 127th St to 159th St to address deficiencies and improve safety, including modernizing all traffic signals, reconstructing intersections, and installing ADA-compliant crosswalks.
  • $800,000 for a Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study of the S. Chicago/79th St/Stony Island Intersection in Chicago to evaluate potential modifications to improve safety and reduce congestion.
  • $4,500,000 for Western Avenue Grade Separations in Blue Island, Posen, and Dixmoor.
  • $7,000,000 to pilot and expand zero emission locomotives on Metra's Rock Island line.

Rush also secured the inclusion of $36.6 billion to expand electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure and boost the decarbonization of our transportation system. Rush's amendment, which was added to the INVEST Act in a bipartisan vote of 221–187, authorizes funding to accelerate the domestic manufacturing of EVs, deploy EV infrastructure in disadvantaged communities, and establish a rebate program for state and local governments to cover the cost of charging stations, among other provisions. The amendment requires the Department of Energy to ensure that grant programs prioritize the needs of underserved communities; it also sets thresholds for the conversion of Federal vehicle fleets to electric or hybrid vehicles. The text of the amendment is nearly identical to Rep. Rush's NO EXHAUST Act of 2021, which he introduced in April and chaired an Energy Subcommittee legislative hearing on in May.

Rush also helped secure the inclusion of critical drinking water provisions, passed out of the Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this month, which would:

  • Fully replace the 10 million remaining lead service lines currently in use around the country. Illinois has more service lines made of toxic metal than any other state and Chicago has more lead service lines than any other city, an issue Rush raised in questioning with witnesses at an Energy and Commerce Committee hearing in March.
  • Create two permanent programs, authorized at $8 billion, to assist low-income Americans with their water bills.
  • Strengthen drinking water standards and improve the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to set those standards; and direct EPA to set health-protective national standards for PFAS, 1,4-dioxane, and microcystin toxin within two years.
  • Promote debt relief for consumers who incurred water-related debt during the pandemic.
  • Designate PFAS as a hazardous substance and require the EPA to take action to keep PFAS and other toxic chemicals out of our soil, rivers, and water.
  • Authorize $53 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, the primary source of federal funding for safe drinking water infrastructure.

Finally, the INVEST in America Act also included Rep. Rush's CASE Act (H.R. 2997), bipartisan legislation he introduced in May that would require the Department of Transportation to conduct a study evaluating how well crash-avoidance systems — the systems used by self-driving cars and many newer vehicles already on our roads — accurately detect pedestrians, bicyclists, and other road users of different skin tones. This came after a concerning report from the Georgia Institute of Technology found that these systems may be worse at detecting pedestrians with darker skin tones than those with lighter skin tones.

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