The Congressional Problem Solvers Caucus – an action group driven by 48 bipartisan members of Congress – released new policy recommendations regarding an approach to solving the nation’s infrastructure issues.
The Problem Solvers Caucus Infrastructure Working Group report, “Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure,” details bipartisan policy solutions that will improve our highways, roads and bridges, transit and railways, ports and airports, water and sewer systems, energy systems and the power grid, and broadband and communications networks.
“By modernizing existing user fees, incentivizing private innovation and investment through public private partnerships, making smarter investments with limited federal dollars, and increasing accountability to taxpayers, this taskforce believes we can build a 21st century infrastructure network that will foster a truly 21st century economy that works for every single American,” the group said.
“It’s always better for the country when we act together,” said Problem Solvers Co-Chair Tom Reed (D-N.Y.) “The bipartisan policy solutions we’ve delivered provide Congress the building blocks necessary to craft a comprehensive infrastructure plan that both parties can agree to. We’ve paved a bipartisan path to get to ‘yes’ and look forward to working with key leaders in Congress to find the right mix of policies to create legislation that can, and should, be enacted into law as soon as possible.”
Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), Reed’s House GOP colleague, co-chaired the Infrastructure Working Group. He said in his Central New York district, infrastructure – particularly bridges roads and ports – have fallen into disrepair and state and local governments are not able to support long-term solutions.
“I was proud to work in a bipartisan manner with Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) and members of the Problem Solvers Infrastructure Working Group to produce a comprehensive report detailing areas in which we can begin to work together to streamline processes and provide sustainable funding solutions,” Katko said. “In doing so, we’ve signaled to President Trump, as well as leaders on both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate, that we are ready to work in a bipartisan manner move our nation’s infrastructure forward.”
The Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) released the following statement in response to the Jan. 10 release of the report:
“To its credit, the report demonstrates bipartisan support for improving all manner of infrastructure facilities and an array of specific policy actions to achieve that goal.
“The Caucus puts its finger on the most pressing transportation infrastructure issue: the need for a permanent solution to the Highway Trust Fund’s revenue shortfall and is illustrating specific proposals to remedy this situation and stabilize federal highway, bridge and transit investment. The TCC could not agree more with a key conclusion in the report: ‘This spending puts the burden of today’s infrastructure needs on tomorrow’s children. Lawmakers must stop kicking the can down the road.’
“Since 2008, more than $140 billion in general fund transfers and budget gimmicks have been needed to preserve federal surface transportation investments. The trust fund’s revenue shortfall continues to grow. In fact, the $70 billion transferred into the trust fund as part of the 2015 FAST Act law will be liquidated in FY 2020. Without new revenue, starting in 2021, the states will face a growing cut from their current level of Highway Trust Fund program funding that would average about $19 billion annually.
“Accordingly, a permanent Highway Trust Fund revenue solution to support increased surface transportation investment must be the foundation of any infrastructure package.
“The TCC commends Problem Solvers Caucus leaders Representatives and all members of the caucus for highlighting the nation’s growing infrastructure needs, providing an important set of funding proposals – including the ‘modernization’ of the federal excise tax on gasoline – to address them and recognizing the critical leadership role of the federal government in helping get the job done.”