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Velazquez Praises Passage of “Moving Forward Act”

Velázquez Praises Passage of “Moving Forward Act”
July 2, 2020
Press Release

Legislation Includes Historic Investment in Public Housing


Washington, DC - Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) voted yesterday for H.R. 2, the “Moving Forward Act,” House Democrats’ sweeping legislation to invest more than $1.5 trillion in modern, sustainable infrastructure while creating millions of good-paying jobs, combatting the climate crisis and addressing disparities in communities across New York City and throughout the country. 


Importantly, the legislation includes a historic $70 billion investment in public housing, allowing agencies like the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to make needed upgrades and repairs.  Velázquez previously authored the Public Housing Emergency Response Act, legislation to allocate $70 billion for public housing capital repairs and upgrades, nationally. She has been among the most vocal proponents in the Democratic Caucus for including public housing funds in the Democrats’ infrastructure bill. 


“Last year, I introduced standalone legislation that would have allocated $70 billion to begin reversing the trend of disinvestment in our nation’s public housing,” Velázquez added. “I’m pleased the ‘Moving Forward Act’ recognizes that public housing must be part of the infrastructure equation. The funds in this bill will help NYCHA make badly needed upgrades like fixing boilers, replacing leaky windows and getting elevators functioning.”


In addition to the public housing funding contained in the base bill, the House adopted an amendment by Velázquez that makes clear NYCHA will be able to use funds to perform work that it has been ordered to complete by the federal monitor appointed last year. Her amendment also increased the percentage of federal funds that would be allocated based on the Public Housing Capital formula, thereby boosting the amount of resources that would flow directly to NYCHA.


A second Velázquez amendment guarantees that public transit agencies that have low-income discounts or reduced fare programs are still eligible to participate in a new grant program established under H.R. 2. This amendment ensures that New York’s Fair Fares program is eligible for federal funding.

The amendment also requires public awareness campaigns to inform low-income transit users of the reduced fare opportunities. The campaign must be available in languages other than English.


“We need to decriminalize fare evasion and one way to do that is expanding free or deeply discounted fares for low-income New Yorkers,” Velázquez added. “My amendment, which passed as part of this bill, would ensure New York receives federal assistance for these efforts.”


Additionally, among other provisions, the Moving Forward Act:


  • Invests $500 billion to rebuild and reimagine the nation’s transportation infrastructure by fixing crumbling roads and bridges, improving safety, reducing gridlock and putting the U.S. on a path toward zero emissions from the transportation sector.  
  • Invests in schools with the Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act, which funds $130 billion in school infrastructure targeted at high-poverty schools with facilities that endanger the health and safety of students and educators.
  • Protects access to safe drinking water by investing over $25 billion in the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and other programs to ensure all communities have clean drinking water and to help remove dangerous contaminants from local water systems. 
  • Modernizes energy infrastructure for a clean energy future by investing more than $70 billion to transform the nation’s electric grid to accommodate more renewable energy, expand renewable energy, strengthen existing infrastructure, help develop an electric vehicle charging network and support energy efficiency, weatherization and Smart Communities infrastructure.


“Our nation is long overdue for these investments and this bill moves our nation in the right direction,” Velázquez added. “From housing to education to transportation, I was proud to vote for this bill and look forward to seeing its enactment.”


The Moving Forward Act passed the House 233-188. It must now be considered in the U.S. Senate.