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House T&I Committee Approves INVEST in America Act

After more than 24 hours of debate that included the consideration of 177 amendments, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act.

The INVEST in America Act, "which enables the completion of critical projects through long-term, sustainable funding and is fueled by American workers and ingenuity thanks to strong Buy America provisions and labor protections," the committee noted, authorizes nearly $500 billion over five years to address some of the country’s most urgent infrastructure needs. 

The INVEST in America Act now moves to the House floor.

The INVEST in America Act, the key piece of the House Democrats’ larger infrastructure proposal, marks a significant departure from previous surface transportation reauthorization bills. It puts an emphasis on tackling the nation's massive maintenance needs and building smarter, safer infrastructure, all while putting our nation on a path toward zero emissions from the transportation sector, which is the number one source of carbon pollution in the United States. 

“For far too long, Congress has taken a pass on trying to solve the toughest problems plaguing our surface transportation system, allowing it to limp along and fall farther and farther behind the rest of the world. That all changes with the INVEST in America Act, transformational legislation that moves our country into a new era of smarter, safer, more resilient infrastructure that fits our changing economy and society,” said Chair Peter DeFazio (D-Ore). “I’m immensely grateful to my committee colleagues who spent months doing the hard work on behalf of the American people to get us to this point, and I urge the rest of my colleagues in Congress to now join us in fighting for a new vision to rebuild our country. The time is now to fix our crumbling infrastructure, cut carbon pollution from the transportation sector, and create millions of good-paying jobs in urban, suburban and rural communities.” 

During the markup, the committee adopted amendments from both sides of the aisle, including 34 Republican amendments and 23 Democratic amendments. 

Democrats have yet to outline how they will pay for the bill, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “With the interest rates where they are now there's never been a better time for us to go big.”

A vote on the legislation is expected before the Fourth of July recess. While the bill is likely to pass the Democrat-led House, it will face greater resistance in the GOP-led Senate.

The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) commends the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee on addressing the desperate need to invest in our nation’s infrastructure," Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs Michele Stanley said. "We applaud the inclusion of the ROCKS Act, which has been championed by Congressman Greg Stanton (D-Ariz.) and Congressman Troy Balderson (R-Ohio). The ROCKS Act will ensure communities are able to accesses essential construction materials leading to improved environmental outcomes and better utilization of taxpayer dollars to build infrastructure.

“The markup yielded some bi-partisan improvements to the bill in the form of amendments, including those that will streamline federal permitting and fund distribution. NSSGA urges House leadership to work with colleagues across the aisle and pass this bill with all stakeholders participating. Infrastructure legislation is traditionally an opportunity for Congress to come together and we hope upcoming floor activity on the INVEST in America Act will continue that precedent.  
“We appreciate the leadership of Chairman DeFazio in marking up a bill and continuing the momentum towards passing a robust, multi-year surface highway reauthorization bill before the September 30 deadline.  We also welcome Ranking Member Graves’ input to provide further flexibility for states and seeking to streamline project delivery. NSSGA will continue to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle toward a bipartisan solution to building a better infrastructure for America,” Stanley concluded.