What happened: Key congressional committees discussed a range of transportation topics including Highway Trust Fund (HTF) solvency, public transportation programs, and President Joe Biden’s preliminary budget. Throughout the hearings Republicans and Democrats outlined priorities and sought areas for compromise as they work toward one or more pieces of infrastructure legislation.
Key takeaways: The Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee’s hearing focused primarily on Vehicle Miles Traveled user fees as a potential eventual replacement for motor fuels taxes. During the hearing EPW Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) both expressed openness to a range of options to maintain HTF solvency. There was bipartisan interest in maintaining a “user-pays” model for future surface transportation investment.
The Senate Banking Committee hearing on mass transit needs was the first outside of EPW on surface transportation reauthorization in the Senate during this session of Congress. The current law expires Sept. 30.
Why it matters: This week’s activity reinforces that Congress is focused on infrastructure. Bipartisan engagement on topics such as HTF solvency is important progress toward passing legislation in the House and Senate.