By Lauren Schapker, vice president of legislative affairs, ARTBA

Bipartisan members of the Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee are urging their chamber colleagues to take action on a surface transportation bill. At a July 1 hearing, EPW senators also focused on how streamlining and resiliency measures included in the committee’s July 2019 America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act could help the U.S. economy rebound.

The hearing featured a diverse panel of industry professionals, including Bob Lanham, president of ARTBA member firm Williams Brothers Construction Co. in Houston, who testified on behalf of Associated General Contractors of America. He praised the committee for developing a bipartisan bill that attempts to meet the diverse priorities across the county.

The hearing examined the nexus between delivering projects more quickly and building them more resiliently. The panelists agreed these are a necessary part of a highway bill and are not mutually exclusive.

It was the second EPW hearing in a month on infrastructure and economic recovery. ARTBA Chairman Steve McGough testified at the committee’s June 4 hearing on “Infrastructure: The Road to Recovery.” At the latest hearing, senators emphasized the need for other chamber committees to propose legislation before the existing highway and transit law expires Sept. 30.

The Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee held a June 30 hearing on curbing annual motor vehicle fatalities, but has not put forward a reauthorization bill. The Banking Committee must add a transit section to the EPW bill. The Finance Committee must add a revenue title before moving to the Senate floor for consideration.

A recording of the July 1 EPW committee hearing is available here.