Subcommittee Clears Bills That Engage Research and Technology in Addressing Matters of Security, Green Transportation and Fire Safety
(Washington, DC) Today, the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation approved legislation aimed at addressing pressing research and technology needs facing the U.S.
Subcommittee Chairman David Wu (D-OR) led the body in passage of the following bills:
H.R. 5161, The Green Transportation Infrastructure Research and Technology Transfer Act
H.R. 4847, United States Fire Administration Reauthorization Act of 2007
H.R. 3916, To provide for the next generation of border and maritime security technologies.
H.R. 5161, authored by Subcommittee Chairman Wu, authorizes research and education programs within the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA)’s University Transportation Centers.
Green infrastructure includes materials and design techniques that help mitigate water pollution by managing and filtering runoff. These new programs at the Department of Transportation will advance the understanding of the benefits of green transportation infrastructure and its impact on the environment, and help policymakers and builders make smart decisions about where and how to include green infrastructure in their transportation systems.
The bill also authorizes FHWA to incorporate green infrastructure design and construction training in the National Highway Institute (NHI) curriculum which is offered to state and local highway contractors and workers.
“Green transportation infrastructure is a simple and exciting set of technologies that can help solve substantial pollution problems in our communities, while increasing energy efficiency,” said Chairman Wu. “We have a great opportunity in this country to manage and protect our water resources through the use of innovative techniques and technologies that simultaneously serve as transportation infrastructure and as means for managing and filtering storm water, and this bill works to overcome the barriers stopping us from getting there.”
H.R. 4847, introduced by Technology and Innovation Subcommittee Vice Chairman Harry Mitchell (D-AZ), seeks to reauthorize the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), continuing the federal government’s support for the nation’s fire service community.
The bill, which is co-sponsored by Subcommittee Ranking Member Phil Gingrey (R-GA), extends the U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA) reauthorization by four years, and authorizes USFA to focus its resources on important issues facing firefighters today, such as fires in the wildland-urban interface and hazardous material incidents.
"Since Congress created USFA in the early 1970’s, it has done an excellent job in providing leadership and assistance to the Nation’s fire service and the number of fatalities in the U.S. due to fire has decreased significantly over that time. However, U.S. fire deaths and property losses are still among the highest in the industrial world. This bill will ensure that USFA continues to provide leadership and resources to the more than 30,000 local fire departments as their communities call on them to take increasingly larger roles in disaster preparedness and response" said Rep. Mitchell.
Also cleared by the subcommittee today, H.R. 3916 is a bill to provide for the next generation of border and maritime security technologies. Introduced by full Committee Ranking Member Ralph Hall (R-TX) and co-sponsored by full Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) and Subcommittee Chairman Wu, the bill’s goal is to improve long term planning for research and development at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), especially in the area of border and maritime security technology.
The bill also authorizes specific border security technology programs, and instructs DHS S&T to improve processes for setting research priorities and serving the needs of technology end users.
“Border security officers have an incredibly difficult job,” said Chairman Wu. “Their job is part law enforcement, part first responder, part diplomat, and part detective. It is clear that these agents need the help of new technology to do their jobs better and to make our borders more secure. This bill has special importance for me, as these technologies help reinforce security efforts at ports in addition to land borders. The Port of Portland processed more than fourteen million tons of cargo in 2007, and I know that the hardworking officers managing security there could use the assistance these innovative technologies would provide.”
All three bills now proceed to the full Committee for consideration.