House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) recently released the INVEST in America Act to address some of the country’s most urgent infrastructure issues. The bill would allocate nearly $500 billion of funding over 5 years to roads, bridges, and transit systems in need of repair and replacement.
The legislation includes Buy America provisions to make sure taxpayer money is invested in American-made parts and labor rather than sent overseas. This will create jobs and boost the economy during the Coronavirus recovery period–a time when it’s critical to spend money into the American economy. The bill is a long overdue attempt to reinvent America’s outdated infrastructure.
“The INVEST in America Act is our opportunity to replace the outdated systems of the past with smarter, safer, more resilient infrastructure that fits the economy of the future, creates millions of jobs, supports American manufacturing, and restores U.S. competitiveness” said DeFazio.
The bill includes funding allocations to build infrastructure that is “smarter, safer, and made to last.” This includes:
- $319 billion into highway investments. This includes fixing 47,000 structurally deficient bridges, as well as efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change. This would involve incentives for best performers in greenhouse gas emissions, a program to build weather-resistant infrastructure, and increased funding for charging stations and more sustainable construction materials.
- $105 billion into transit investments, such as increasing funding for more viable public transit options to encourage Americans not to clog highways with single-occupant cars. It also includes investing in zero-emission buses to reduce carbon emission. Most importantly, this would strengthen Buy America provisions to boost domestic jobs in rail and bus manufacturing.
- $10 billion into Passenger Vehicle and Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety, which would increase funding highway safety programs, as well as truck and bus safety programs.
- $60 billion into rail investments. This includes tripling Amtrak funding in order to ensure a skilled Amtrak workforce and give travelers a reliable, low-carbon option to travel. This will also include a grant program devoted solely to passenger rail improvements and expansion. A large concern is also rail crossing safety.
America’s outdated infrastructure is a topic that U.S. lawmakers have been discussing for years. The INVEST in America Act will not only fix our infrastructure, but also improve our economy and maximize job growth during otherwise uncertain times.
“With the most severe economic disruption since the Great Depression and continuity of state transportation improvement programs in doubt, the case for Congress to deliver a robustly funded infrastructure bill has never been stronger,” said American Transportation and Builders Association President Dave Bauer. “The transportation construction industry, in partnership with public agency officials, is ready to rebuild the nation’s highways, bridges and public transit systems.”
The Committee will consider the INVEST in America Act at a Committee markup scheduled for Wednesday, June 17. The current surface transportation authorization expires September 30.