House T&I Committee Unveils $547B Surface Transportation Billeditor@aashto.org June 4, 2021 0 COMMENTS
The House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure unveiled its five-year, $547 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill on June 4. Dubbed the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America or INVEST in America Act, the committee plans to markup the bill on June 9.
[Above photo by the Architect of the Capitol]
In a statement, Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chair of the House T&I committee, noted that the INVEST in America Act offers a “new approach” to federal transportation policy.
He said the bill emphasizes making repairs to existing roads and bridges along with funding “record investments” in passenger rail, public transit, bicycling, and walking infrastructure. It also aims to fund more zero-emission transportation options, as well – all while creating “safer, more connected communities” and providing “targeted investments in rural and underserved communities.”
According to a fact sheet issued along with a section-by-section analysis of the 1,249-page bill, the “INVEST in America Act” allocates $343 billion for roads, bridges, and safety funding needs. That includes $32 billion in dedicated bridge funding, $4 billion to build out electric vehicle charging infrastructure, $8.3 billion for efforts to reduce carbon pollution, and provides $6.2 billion for mitigation and resiliency improvements.
The bill also includes $109 billion in dedicated transit funding, including monies aimed at helping transit fleets switch over to zero-emission vehicles, and sets aside $50 million a year for “rural persistent poverty communities.”
Finally, the bill increases passenger rail funding substantially from $10 billion in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation or FAST Act to $95 billion in the new bill, which includes funding for Amtrak to $32 billion along with greater fiscal back for long-distance and state-supported routes.
Jim Tymon, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, noted that the bill provides funding growth and “much-needed certainty” for state departments of transportation.
“AASHTO strongly encourages Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate to work together to enact a bipartisan reauthorization bill by September 30 that maintains current formula-based funding to states as the foundation of the federal surface transportation program,” he added in a statement.
“This proven approach will provide the necessary flexibility for rural, urban and suburban areas to advance important national priorities including equity; resiliency; carbon reduction; safety for all roadway users; improving project delivery; and, maintaining and improving their assets,” Tymon said.