Chairmen of Senate Finance and House T&I Report Progress
With Congress facing a September 30, 2020 expiration date for FAST Act transportation authorization legislation and the Highway Trust Fund facing an $18-$20 billion annual revenue shortfall to maintain current funding levels, the Chairmen of two key committees this week made positive statements about addressing this AGC priority. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said he is working to finalize a set of transportation “pay-fors” to address the revenue shortfall. Bloomberg news quotes Grassley, when asked if a five-year surface transportation bill will be on the Senate floor next year, “If we can reach an agreement on taxes to pay for it the answer is yes. We’re still talking at the staff level about putting together a package that will raise $113 billion.” The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has already approved the highway portion of the legislation which was supported by a bipartisan 21-0 vote in committee.
This week House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore) said his staff is drafting transportation reauthorization legislation and is aiming to release the bill early next year. "We're drafting. You know, I hope to be able to present my colleagues with some firm numbers and programs and policies, at least in substance, when we're back in January. And then we'll continue drafting and hopefully have a product in maybe February," E&E news reports DeFazio saying.
AGC has testified three times in both the House and Senate calling for completion of the FAST Act reauthorization before the September 30 deadline and calling for a motor fuels tax increase to address not only HTF insolvency but the need to increase investment to address the transportation infrastructure deficit.