Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today made the following remarks regarding Committee approval of H.R. 3999, the National Highway Bridge Reconstruction and Inspection Act, and H.R. 3224, the Dam Rehabilitation and Repair Act: 

Senator Boxer said:
"The tragic bridge collapse a year ago in Minneapolis reminded us all that maintaining America's infrastructure can be a matter of life and death. Today's action by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee makes clear that investing in our highways, bridges, dams and other critical infrastructure is a top priority."

The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3999 on July 24, 2008 by a vote of 367-55. The legislation authorizes $1 billion for bridge repair and replacement and requires the Department of Transportation to develop a national risk-based priority system for the repair, rehabilitation or replacement of each structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridge.

H.R. 3224, the Dam Rehabilitation and Repair Act, amends the National Dam Safety Program Act and requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to establish a program to provide grant assistance to states for use in rehabilitating deficient dams. The bill authorizes $200 million through 2012.

Both bills now go to the full Senate for consideration.