On June 18, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed a five-year, $494 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill entitled the “Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act” or the “INVEST in America Act,” on a party-line 35 to 25 vote.
The Highway Users applauds the Committee for moving forward with the transportation reauthorization process through marking up the Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute (ANS) to H.R. 2, formerly H.R. 7095, the “INVEST in America Act.” The deadline to reauthorize surface transportation programs is quickly approaching. We are hopeful that a bipartisan, bicameral process will move forward to ensure a long-term bill will be signed into law before the FAST Act expires on September 30. Failure to do so could halt important road and bridge projects and will further disrupt America’s economic recovery.
While the Highway Users members are appreciative of the robust funding levels, attention to safety, and programmatic stability provided by the bill, we urge consideration of the following:
- retaining the 4:1 program ratio for highways and transit until the massive highway and bridge program shortfalls are addressed;
- preventing diversion of highway revenues for non-highway purposes beyond what is currently allowed under existing law;
- working to curb the flexing of infrastructure safety funding to non-infrastructure safety projects;
- reconsidering the “Fix it First” goals within the bill to advance new highway capacity for safety, congestion, and the benefit of our economy. States should retain the current flexibility, particularly on the National Highway System, to add capacity as needed; and,
- funding the DADSS Research Program after the one year that was authorized to help advance technology that will save lives and reduce injuries on our roads.
“The Highway Users are hopeful that a bipartisan process can progress as the House moves toward floor consideration and conference,” stated Laura Perrotta, American Highway Users Alliance President and CEO. “This summer’s roadway construction season is facing major hurdles due to COVID-19 funding shortfalls and record unemployment rates, but a robust highway reauthorization would help bolster our nation’s recovery.”
The Highway Users will work closely with the House and Senate to advocate for policies and funding that increase safety and mobility for the motoring public and prioritize highway investment.