News from Representative Heck

   

The stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue that connects the U.S. Capitol to the White House is about a mile long. We’ve just crossed the halfway point of the 116th Congress, and already 12,688 pieces of legislation have been introduced.

Of those bills, I’m the lead sponsor of 16 and cosponsored another 330. Yet of the mountain of bills that get introduced every year, very few end up going the distance from Capitol Hill to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and are signed into law. 

With the first session of the 116th Congress in the books, I wanted to reflect upon some of the progress we’ve made in the other Washington fighting for South Sound priorities. This email series will focus on some of my bills that have gone the distance and are now public law, starting with the Defense Community Infrastructure Program (DCIP).

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Like most of you, I’ve spent far too much of my life stuck in traffic on I-5 – and one of the worst areas of congestion in the South Sound is around Joint Base Lewis McChord. In many ways, it’s reflective of what a great home the South Sound has been to our armed forces. The Pentagon has recognized this, transferring additional commands to JBLM. 

But as military bases grow and as natural population growth occurs, regional infrastructure must grow as well: Roads need to be expanded as more cars drive through entrances like the DuPont and Madigan gates. Levees must be built to protect installations and surrounding communities from flooding. Wastewater must be contained and disposed of. 

That’s where the Defense Community Infrastructure Program comes in. Currently, local governments throughout Pierce County have been good neighbors and have shouldered these costs on their own. But the federal government can and should be better partners as these defense communities build and update their infrastructure. 

DCIP would provide federal grants to help state and local government address the infrastructure needs in communities near military installations. They would need to chip in with at least a 20% match to qualify for these grants.

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I first proposed DCIP in a bill called the COMMUTE Act in 2014, and we’ve spent the last six years fighting for our defense communities. 

I’m proud that, for the first time, we’ve secured $50 million in funding for this vital infrastructure program as part of this year’s defense spending bill, which was signed into law by the President in December.

As I look forward through the end of my time here in Congress, I know that there is still plenty of work to be done. Let me know what legislation you want to see cross the finish line as this Congress progresses. I’m grateful for your input as we tackle these big challenges together.

Sincerely,

Denny Heck
Your Member of Congress

 

 

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