U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Tom Carper (D-DE), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Ben Cardin (D-MD) released the following statements on the committee’s passage of S. 2302, America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019. The legislation as amended passed the committee by a vote of 21 to 0.
The bill authorizes $287 billion over five years, including $259 billion for formula programs to maintain and repair America’s roads and bridges. The total represents an increase of over 27 percent from FAST Act levels. The legislation includes provisions to improve road safety, streamline project delivery, protect the environment and grow the economy.
Barrasso and Carper serve as chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW). Capito and Cardin serve as chairman and ranking member of the EPW Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
“Our committee has taken a significant step in improving our roads and bridges,” said Barrasso. “America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act will grow our economy, improve road safety, expedite important projects, and enhance quality of life for the American people. Our bipartisan legislation will help rural communities in Wyoming and major urban areas around the country. I am thankful to Ranking Member Carper and all the members of our committee for working with me to advance the most substantial highway legislation in history.”
“For far too long, our country has leaped from one highway funding crisis to the next and failed to implement forward-looking solutions to the challenges facing our transportation sector,” said Carper. “America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act will ensure that every community reaps the benefits of strong federal investment, with safer roads, cleaner air, greater mobility and more connectivity. It’s my hope that our committee’s action today sets an example and will inspire other committees of jurisdiction to put forth their titles soon. I thank Chairman Barrasso and our colleagues, Senators Capito and Cardin, for their strong bipartisan partnership. I look forward to the work ahead of us.”
The American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) said its staff had attended multiple briefings with EPW committee staff, who shared some details of the legislation. It includes:
Of the $287 billion in budget authority, 90 percent will be provided to the states via formula;
A new $6 billion bridge program would be funded by a mix of Highway Trust Fund and General Fund revenues;
New climate change and safety incentivization programs;
Additional streamlining provisions, including the codification of “One Federal Decision”, the Trump administration executive order requiring all agencies to work together on a single decision for environmental project reviews;
Resources to build alternative fuel fueling stations along identified corridors;
The EPW committee, which has jurisdiction over most highway programs, is the first in either the House or Senate to move forward on reauthorizing the 2015 FAST Act surface transportation law, which expires Sept. 30, 2020.
The American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear said, after the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released text of its surface transportation reauthorization bill, “We thank Chairman Barrasso and Ranking Member Carper for taking this important first step toward reauthorizing our nation's surface transportation systems.”
He continued, "The strength of our economy relies on sound roads and bridges, as more than 70 percent of our nation's goods travel by highway on the back of trucks. With the right investment, we can stem America's deepening infrastructure crisis and instead achieve a 21st century infrastructure worthy of the world's leading economy.