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Shaheen Introduces New Legislation to Invest in U.S. Transportation & Infrastructure Projects that Bolster Energy Efficiency Efforts

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced new legislation that would improve the energy efficiency of the U.S. transportation sector, modernize aging infrastructure, reduce harmful pollution and boost America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace. Specifically, Shaheen’s new legislation – the Better Utilizing Innovative Low-Emission Development Strategies (BUILDS) Act – would create a competitive infrastructure grant program within the U.S. Department of Transportation to (DOT) fund innovative projects that promote energy efficiency while meeting significant transportation needs.

“It’s long past time for bipartisan progress to repair our crumbling roads, rails and bridges,” said Shaheen. “The BUILDS Act is a common-sense proposal that invests in local transportation and infrastructure needs in both rural and urban communities – which would be a boon for projects in every corner of the Granite State – while also reducing our carbon footprint. I urge members on both sides of the aisle to join me in this legislation to help address our aging infrastructure and incentivize our communities to pursue energy efficient solutions to build a safer, more sustainable future.”

The BUILDS Act would authorize $300 million annually to create an energy efficiency-focused national infrastructure investment initiative to modernize the nation’s transportation infrastructure and reduce harmful GHG emissions.

Specifically, the legislation would direct DOT to establish a competitive grant program to fund projects that:

  • Promote reductions in transportation energy use;
  • Accelerate the adoption of new and existing energy efficiency technologies for transportation applications; and
  • Increase the availability of energy efficient modes of transportation for passengers or freight.

Shaheen’s legislation would apply to a variety of transportation modes, but the program would encourage the use of technologies that reduce transportation energy use and improve traffic management and non-motorized modes of transportation. Eligible applicants would include State, local and tribal governments as well as public entities with jurisdiction over, or expertise relating to, infrastructure in a region, including a transit agency. The legislation also calls for funding in a balanced way to address the needs of both urban and rural communities, ensuring funding (not less than 20 percent) is dedicated to advance projects in rural areas.

The BUILDS Act has been endorsed by a number of organizations, including: The American Society of Civil Engineers, Alliance to Save Energy, Union of Concerned Scientists and American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Bill text of the legislation is available here. A one page summary of the bill is available here.

Senator Shaheen has long fought to bring federal dollars back to New Hampshire to invest in critical transportation and infrastructure projects to fix Granite State roads, rail, bridges and ports. Last year, Shaheen reintroduced legislation, the Strengthen and Fortify Existing (SAFE) Bridges Act to begin to address the more than 47,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country. A senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Shaheen has historically secured federal funding for the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Grant program – formerly known as the TIGER Grant program. In fiscal year 2020 government funding legislation, Shaheen helped boost funding for the BUILD Grant program by $100 million, totaling $1 billion for fiscal year (FY) 2020. Last November, Shaheen announced a $12 million BUILD grant for a NHDOT bridge project on the Connecticut River.

Senator Shaheen is a champion of efforts that invest in sustainability and promote energy efficiency. Shaheen has introduced widely praised bipartisan legislation with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to save American homes and businesses billions of dollars in energy costs and dramatically reduce the United States’ carbon footprint. Senator Shaheen recently introduced a bipartisan Senate resolution designating yesterday, October 7th, Energy Efficiency Day.