House Democrats Unveil Infrastructure Principles


On January 29, House Democrats unveiled a framework for a $760 billion federal infrastructure investment over 5 years. The framework titled, Moving Forward Framework for the People, was introduced during a press conference where Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (CA) spoke about the broad infrastructure needs the framework is intended to help address including highways, roads, bridges, transit, water, climate action, schools, healthcare, broadband, brownfields, the electric grid, pipelines, electric vehicles, and more. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (OR) also spoke specifically on the need for resilient infrastructure using “climate friendly” materials, increasing the use of renewable fuels, and supporting inland waterways. House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal (MA) whose committee is responsible for identifying the funding source(s) for the infrastructure plan, stated that a revenue stream would not be identified until agreement with President Trump is reached on how to pay for the massive investment in broad infrastructure priorities. Chairman Neal cited a meeting he had in recent weeks with Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, where he says they discussed infrastructure being on the agenda once the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was complete. President Trump is signing USMCA today, January 29.

The House Ways and Means Committee is holding a hearing on January 29 titled, Paving the Way for Funding and Financing Infrastructure Investments. While Chairman Neal did not identify a revenue stream for funding an infrastructure package, he did share that he believes Build America Bonds should be one tool for financing.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) and the Committee’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-IL) released a Republican Infrastructure Principles statement on January 28.

The next steps for moving an infrastructure package in the House is uncertain. Speaker Pelosi was asked during the press conference about when a bill may move in the House, to which she replied, a bill will be on the floor “when we’re ready.”

Last July, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously passed out of committee a bipartisan federal surface transportation reauthorization bill, the America's Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA), S. 2302. ATIA calls for a 5-year authorization to follow the current transportation law, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act (Public Law 114-94), which expires September 30, 2020. The legislation proposes a $287 billion funding level, and is only focused on investment in transportation infrastructure. It is important to note that the EPW Committee does not have full jurisdiction over all transportation programs. The following committees each have jurisdiction over portions of federal surface transportation programs: Senate Finance Committee (funding), the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee (transportation safety, technology, research, railroads), and the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee (transit) all have a piece of the necessary programs. ATIA has not been scheduled for action by the full Senate.

Last September, the APWA Board of Directors approved APWA’s Surface Transportation Reauthorization Priorities document which has been shared broadly with Congress, the Trump Administration, and partner organizations. For any questions regarding APWA’s public policy priorities, please contact Director of Government and Public Affairs Andrea Eales at aeales@apwa.net.