WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that the Consolidated and Further Appropriations Act of 2015 was passed by the Senate. The bill was passed by the House earlier this week and heads to President Obama for his signature.
According to a press release from Durbin’s office, the bill has the following benefits for the Metro East:
TIGER Grant Program: $500 million in nationwide funding for the Transportation Infrastructure Grants and Economic Reinvestment (TIGER) grant program allows local communities to apply directly to the DOT for funding of nationally significant transportation projects. This program is especially helpful to communities engaged in multimodal projects that improve connections to different transportation networks. Local projects funded under the program include: the Alton Regional Multimodal Transportation Center at the former Robert P. Wadlow Golf Course and the Tri-City Port in Madison County.
Amtrak: $1.4 billion in nationwide funding for Amtrak. By providing adequate funding to Amtrak, more than 500 communities in 46 states across the country will continue to see improved passenger rail service.
FAA Contract Towers: The omnibus fully funds the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s contract tower program, and includes bill language that protects the program against cuts. Under a year-long continuing resolution, the contract tower program would be vulnerable. This past year, in order to live within the budget constraints of a full-year continuing resolution and sequestration, the FAA imposed drastic cuts to its contract tower program and tried to shut down 149 towers across the country. These cuts would have potentially shut down the tower at St. Louis Regional Airport in East Alton.
Metro East Levees: Report language was included to establish third-party oversight of the Army Corps of Engineers while they work to fix the portions of the Wood River Levee that have been negatively affected by a design deficiency in the construction of the Melvin Price Dam.
Wood River Levee, Wood River: $50,000 in funding to continue design and potentially construction of levee improvements to provide the authorized level of protection it provides during a flood.
Addressing the Heroin Crisis: $7 million for a new program within the Community Oriented Policing Services office for competitive grants to anti-heroin task forces.