Washington, D.C. – As Congress begins debate on the National Transportation Reauthorization, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, today introduced legislation with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to improve and offer more flexibility to the Coordinated Border Infrastructure (CBI) Program, which authorizes funding under the U.S. Department of Transportation for infrastructure projects in border regions. Senator Gillibrand’s measure would reauthorize the program for an additional 5 years at the current level plus inflation, and allow states to use the funding for freight and passenger rail projects. Last year, New York State accounted for 15 percent of all rail trade between the U.S. and Canada. The CBI program is set to expire on September 30, 2011 without reauthorization.
“From the Peace Bridge to the Thousand Islands Bridge to Rouses Point, New York State is home to some of the largest and most significant border crossings in the country,” Senator Gillibrand said. “When we invest in infrastructure upgrades at New York’s border regions, we create new construction jobs immediately, and help grow our local economies over the long term by connecting more businesses in New York to Canada. This legislation provides resources for infrastructure projects to move forward, offering flexibility to help attract more new businesses and grow our economy.”
New York has received more than 13 percent of the available funding for this program, $157 million in CBI funds, since the passage of the Safe Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).
Senator Gillibrand’s measure would authorize the CBI funding over the next 5 years at approximately $230 million per year, including approximately $30 million per year to New York State.
CBI funding is available for the following types of improvements to facilitate and expedite cross border motor vehicle and cargo movements:
- Improvements to existing transportation and supporting infrastructure;
- Construction of highways and related safety and safety enforcement facilities related to international trade;
- Operational improvements, including those related to electronic data interchange and use of telecommunications;
- Modifications to regulatory procedures; and
- International coordination of transportation planning, programming, and border operation with Canada and Mexico.
No CBI funding can go toward rail projects under current law.