The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved two major pieces of infrastructure legislation on a bipartisan basis during a 19-hour markup, both of which make transformational investments to modernize America’s roads, bridges, highways, rail, transit and wastewater systems.
The policy changes advanced in committee mark a significant departure from status quo infrastructure legislation of the past in order to catapult our country into a new era of smarter, safer, more resilient infrastructure that fits our evolving economy and society and cuts carbon pollution, the Committee stated.
The INVEST in America Act and the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021 now advance to the full House.
“Infrastructure is calling, and we are answering with bold legislation that invests in American workers and communities and lays the groundwork for the president’s visionary Americans Jobs Plan,” said Chair Peter DeFazio (D-Ore). “I commend my colleagues for their hard work helping craft these two bills to deliver what Americans expect and deserve: safe roads and bridges, reliable transit options and a robust passenger rail network, wastewater systems that aren’t on the brink of failure, and a commitment to address the existential threat of climate change. In many ways, the choice couldn’t be easier – because the best part of rebuilding our infrastructure for the modern era is the incredible opportunity for our nation that comes with it. We’re talking millions of good-paying jobs that can’t be exported, real and sustained support for U.S. manufacturing, and the chance to make our nation a world leader once again. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that we can’t afford to miss.”
The Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act of 2021, which passed out of committee on a bipartisan vote, would invest $50 billion to address wastewater infrastructure needs throughout the country, including $40 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, a program that Congress has not reauthorized since 1987. This bipartisan legislation is supported by more than 110 organizations that have endorsed the funding levels in the bill – ranging from municipalities, to environmental organizations, to labor groups, to small businesses, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The INVEST in America Act, which passed out of committee 38-26, is a five-year, $547 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill that directs federal investments in roads, bridges, transit and rail. This legislation can create millions of good-paying jobs, restore our global competitive edge, reduce carbon pollution that drives the climate crisis, and make our communities safer, more equitable, and better connected, the committee stated.
“With this markup we are one-step closer to finalizing a multi-year, surface transportation reauthorization bill before September 30 which will address the need to invest in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure,” said National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs Michele Stanley. “NSSGA appreciates the efforts of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee (T&I) and Chairman DeFazio for advancing its INVEST in America Act, which would authorize $547 billion in surface transportation project funding over five years. We also applaud Ranking Member Graves and members on the committee for introducing amendments that would streamline federal permitting, reduce burdens on small business and make improvements to the bill that are supported by the aggregates industry.
“Most importantly, the bill would provide $343 billion for road, bridge and highway projects, including $32 billion in dedicated funds for much-needed bridge repair and reconstruction,” she said. “We also support the committees work to include an additional $14.7 billion in contract authority from the highway account that will help state Departments of Transportation recover from revenue shortfalls suffered during the pandemic. We also applaud Rep. Greg Stanton (D-Ariz.) and Rep. Troy Balderson (R-Ohio) for their work to include the ROCKS Act into the underlying bill. This is a critical addition for the aggregates industry, that will ensure communities are able to access construction materials leading to improved environmental outcomes and better utilization of taxpayer dollars to build infrastructure.
“NSSGA urges House leadership to continue the infrastructure momentum in a bipartisan manner 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,” Stanley concluded.