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Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation

1/30/2020



Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

House Democrats unveil $760B infrastructure plan


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U.S. House Democratic leaders yesterday released the framework for a five-year, $760 billion proposal to address the nation's growing infrastructure needs, including those related to rail.

Chairmen of the House committees on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I), Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means unveiled the plan, dubbed "Moving America and the Environment Forward," which they said would address the nation's massive infrastructure maintenance backlog and undertake projects that are "smarter, safer and made to last," according to a joint press release issued by the committees.

Of the $434 billion in the plan that pertains to surface transportation, the proposal calls for $105 billion to be invested in public transit and $55 billion in passenger rail, according to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

The larger proposal includes measures that would:
• bring existing infrastructure into a state of good repair and enable the completion of critical projects through long-term sustainable funding;
• set a path toward zero carbon pollution from the transportation sector, create jobs, protect natural resources, promote environmental justice and increase resilience to climate change;
• ensure a transportation system that is green, affordable, reliable and efficient;
• help combat climate change by creating jobs in clean energy, investing in energy efficiency and reduces greenhouse gas emissions;
• expand broadband internet access; and
• support U.S. industries, including steel and manufacturing, through strong Buy America projections.

“Our country has changed dramatically since the 1950s, yet people and goods are now literally stuck trying to move on transportation networks first developed nearly 70 years ago,” said T&I Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.). “It’s past time for transformational investments to make our infrastructure smarter, safer, and resilient to climate change, or else we will keep throwing money at an antiquated system that is only holding us and our economy back.”

The framework's details will be developed in the coming months, he said.

Yesterday's announcement drew praise from some transportation organizations, including APTA.

"This framework includes important provisions for maintaining and expanding our public transportation infrastructure, and represents a commitment to growing our communities, supporting jobs, and providing expanded mobility options," said APTA President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Skoutelas in a press release.

T&I Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said Republicans are looking forward to a bipartisan effort.

"I may not agree with all of the principles in the majority’s outline, but as the Republican leader of this committee, I expect to play a constructive role in the development of infrastructure bills before us this year, including expected surface transportation and water resources legislation," Graves said. "Any serious effort toward enacting infrastructure legislation must incorporate Republican principles as well."

Earlier in the week, Graves and Highways and Transit Subcommittee Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) outlined principles that committee Republicans will focus on during development of a surface transportation reauthorization bill, including addressing the long-term sustainability of the Highway Trust Fund.



Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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