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House Democrats Release Infrastructure Framework, Republicans Respond with Their Key Principles

January 29, 2020

House Democrat Infrastructure Framework:

Overview:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of the House Democrat leadership today released a framework for addressing the Nation’s infrastructure needs, calling for an investment of $760 billion over five years. The framework breaks out this investment into specific infrastructure categories but leaves the question of how to pay for the investment unanswered for now. The specific categories are:

  • Surface Transportation   
    • $434 Billion ($319B- Highways, $105B- Transit, $10B- Safety)
  • Railroads 
    • $55 Billion
  • Airport/Airway Infrastructure  
    • $30 Billion
  • Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund      
    • $19.7 Billion
  • Water Resources     
    • $10 Billion
  • Clean Water     
    • $50.5 Billion
  • Drinking Water    
    • $25.4 Billion
  • Brownfields    
    • $2.7 Billion
  • Clean Energy  
    • $34.3 Billion
  • Broadband     
    • $86 Billion       
  • Public Safety Communications         
    • $12 Billion       

The framework must now be crafted into legislation before consideration by the House.

Surface Transportation:

The surface transportation section is Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio’s principles for developing the FAST Act reauthorization bill. While today’s release does not provide a great amount of detail, the principles include, but are not limited to:

  • Addressing climate change.
  • Improving the resiliency of surface transportation infrastructure.
  • Bringing existing roads, bridges, and public transit systems into a state of good repair.
  • Giving more decision-making authority for investing federal dollars to metropolitan planning organizations and other local entities, with an emphasis on funding more local projects, including bike transportation, pedestrian mobility, and public transit projects.
  • Investing in workforce development programs to give workers the skills needed to find family-wage transportation jobs.
  • Ensuring a level playing field for the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBEs) to participate in federal surface transportation projects.
  • Reducing states flexibility in existing highway formula programs and strengthening existing performance-management requirements.
  • Requiring states to measure greenhouse gas pollution and focusing on policies and projects that will reduce transportation-sector pollution.
  • Supporting innovative construction materials to reduce the carbon footprint.
  • Testing the viability of new transportation user fees through a national pilot program.

Republican Proposal:

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Republicans released their own principles for consideration as part of the FAST Act reauthorization effort:

  • Addressing the long-term sustainability of the Highway Trust Fund
  • incorporating innovative developments in technology to improve infrastructure
  • Streamlining the project delivery process to maximize available funding
  • Addressing the infrastructure needs of America’s rural communities
  • Prioritizing core programs and functions of the existing federal surface transportation programs
  • Ensuring state flexibility

AGC’s Response:

In response, AGC’s CEO Stephen Sandherr issued the following statement:

“There are many important details included in these new infrastructure principles that should prompt robust debate as members work to craft vital new infrastructure legislation. The broader significance of these announcements, however, is that they signal something we have strongly advocated: that Congress should make passing a bipartisan measure to improve the nation’s aging and overburdened infrastructure its top priority. There is no better way to restore Americans’ confidence in Washington than finding a way to pay for and fix the infrastructure that is vital to our continued economic success.

“Moving forward, we will take every possible step to make sure members of both parties understand the need to make infrastructure the top priority. Our industry, our economy and our nation cannot succeed if our products are stuck in traffic, workers delayed by broken bridges and harvests hindered by crumbling locks.”

For more information, contact Brian Deery at brian.deery@agc.org or (703) 837- 5319.

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