Providing for our nation's infrastructure is one of the most important roles of the federal government. The roads, bridges, waterways, and mass transit systems we rely on every day not only serve to connect local communities, but also to bring together resources that drive out economy and create jobs across the country. Our economy depends on maintaining our current infrastructure systems and continually finding new and innovative ways to keep America moving.
During the 113th Congress, I was proud to vote in favor of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act which became law in June 2014. This law improves the process for rehabilitating infrastructure along America's waterways, eliminating red-tape and bureaucratic delays that have bogged down the system for years. Millions of tons of commodities are shipped annually using Illinois' many rivers, including sites along the Illinois River in Marseilles, Utica, and Morris. Improving our waterways will make it easier for farmers and manufacturers in Illinois to get their goods to consumers out of state and even around the world.
I was pleased to see the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provide the full $35 million I requested for the repair of the Marseilles Lock and Dam in March of 2014. Quickly and efficiently returning the lock and dam to full operation is important not only for the people of Marseilles, but for the entire region that relies on the Illinois River to do business.
Without question, our nation's system of highways is one of the most visible and utilized aspects of national infrastructure. Development and maintenance of our nation's interstate highway system is funded by the Highway Trust Fund, which is unfortunately on a path to insolvency without Congressional intervention. Congress took quick action to prevent the fund from going insolvent in 2014 which averted the loss of nearly 700,000 jobs and a 28% cut in construction spending. While only a temporary fix, I am committed to finding a long-term solution to save and strengthen the Highway Trust Fund to ensure our interstate highway remains safe for not only our families to travel on, but also to continue to spur economic growth and job creation in the 16th District of Illinois.
Our nation's passenger rail system is a vital connection between industries and manufacturers located across the country. However, with continually changing consumer preferences, our rail system must be adaptable and an efficient and effective use of taxpayer funds. For that reason, I was pleased to support the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 (H.R. 749) which provided funding for Amtrak through fiscal year 2019, but also requires Amtrak to introduce business based reforms, including cost-benefit analysis for major purchases and transparent bookkeeping practices. I support common sense reforms to ensure our nation's infrastructure system is modern and truly meeting the needs of american consumers and businesses.