House Passes Infrastructure Bill
On July 1, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a massive $1.5 trillion infrastructure package, H.R. 2, the INVEST in America Act. The bill includes a $500 billion over 5-years surface transportation bill, as well as funding for water projects, schools, housing, broadband internet, updating the electrical grid, hospitals, and the U.S. Postal Service. Specifically related to paying for the surface transportation portion of the bill, no new identified revenue source is included, but rather the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) would be funded through transfers from the General Fund. The HTF is expected to be insolvent after fiscal year 2021.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has stated the Senate will not take up the bill in its current form, and President Trump has said he would veto H.R. 2 if sent to him because it does not address rural area needs. In July 2019, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed its bipartisan America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA), S. 2302, which proposes a 5-year, $287 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill, and does not address separate infrastructure needs. The full Senate has not yet considered ATIA, and no timing, nor specific funding for ATIA has been identified. The current surface transportation law, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act expires September 30, 2020.
APWA’s policy priorities for Surface Transportation Reauthorization are funding, streamlining, and safety. Specifically, the Association is calling for a:
25-cent increase in the federal motor fuel tax over three years, with a transition to a vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT), or similar user fee, as soon as possible;
Enact a federal transportation reauthorization bill that is a minimum of 6 years long;
Eliminate unnecessary, duplicative, and burdensome requirements that delay the delivery of critical transportation improvements; and
Increase the emphasis on safety for all transportation system users.