Moving Forward Act

RR070220 NewHighwayBill

July 2, 2020 – With the passage in the House of Representatives of the Moving Forward Act – a $1.5 trillion plan to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure – House Democrats have done something other than just talk about the need to repair our roads and bridges. The plan includes $319 billion for highways and of course only cursory mention of a pay-for or an increase in gas taxes. But then again, as a COVID-19 stimulus, that appears to be a moot point at this stage in U.S. history. While there is much to like in the bill, I fear it tries to do too much in one fell swoop, addressing issues such as clean energy, electric vehicles, transit and rail – all important issues, but maybe better addressed separately. I don’t see how this plan can be reconciled with the Senate’s bill, America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019. The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works passed the legislation unanimously, 21-0, and it is much more narrowly focused. The bill authorizes $287 billion over five years for roads and bridges: not nearly enough, by the way. Compounding the difficulties of reconciliation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) seems to have no interest whatsoever in bringing that legislation to the floor for a vote. The Trump Administration also appears to be the Grim Reaper for infrastructure, suggesting a veto is waiting for anything like the House bill. Meanwhile the September expiration of the FAST Act is coming, well, fast. Our congressional representatives need to get their acts together in short order. The nation’s crumbling infrastructure should not be held hostage to the bloodsport of party politics.

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