By Lauren Schapker, vice president, legislative affairs, ARTBA
Congress this week in three committee hearings continued to focus on developing an infrastructure package and reauthorizing surface transportation programs. The current authorization law, the FAST Act, expires Sept. 30.
Hearing highlights included:
- House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) March 3 suggested infrastructure investment be a part of any stimulus package being considered in response to economic fears related to coronavirus. The statement came during a hearing featuring Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
- The House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee Democratic leadership March 4 reiterated their call for a $55 billion investment in freight and passenger rail at a subcommittee hearing on the topic. T&I Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) is targeting the unveiling of a new surface transportation this spring.
- The Senate Banking Committee March 5 held its second hearing in as many weeks on public transportation policy, signaling a renewed focus on its portion of a new surface transportation bill. Banking is one of four committees in the Senate that plays a role in the authorization process, with oversight of the public transit programs. The Environment & Public Works Committee last summer passed S. 2302, America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA), which authorizes increased investment in highway and bridge programs.
ARTBA anticipates such committee activity will increase in the coming weeks and months, which is why it is important to register for this year’s Federal Issues Program and Transportation Construction Coalition Fly-In, May 12-14 in Washington, D.C. The meeting provides excellent opportunities for industry professionals to visit the Nation’s Capital and press their members of Congress for action on a long-term transportation infrastructure investment bill and permanent fix for the Highway Trust Fund.
Until then, visit ARTBA’s Grassroots Action Center to urge your senators to support passage of the ATIA bill.