TLDR: President Biden, the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee, and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) have all released proposals for Federal infrastructure. Overall APA has a lot to like in the various infrastructure bills proposed. This is our opportunity to let Congress know that it’s time for investment in our nation’s infrastructure. Now is the time to contact your representatives. A one-year extension of the surface transportation law expires Sept. 30.
- APA supports the focus on climate change (including hazard mitigation, resilience, and investment in sustainable technologies) in all of the current proposals.
- Both the House and Senate bills expand TAP; the House T&I bill increases the MPO suballocation to 66%. The House bill also limits state transfers out of TAP.
- Both bills support Vision Zero as well as Vulnerable Road User Assessments in planning. Both expand Safe Routes to School (SRTS) to include high schools and increase SRTS funding overall.
- In the Senate, the Banking Committee has yet to release a transit proposal. But, the EPW committee included increases in rail and Amtrak funding. The House T&I bill triples Amtrak funding and creates a high speed rail funding program.
- The T&I bill also focuses on equity, targeting transit service for low income communities and job access -and- supporting TOD and affordable housing.
- Both bills anticipate a new Reconnecting Communities Program addressing areas where infrastructure divided existing communities; the Senate bill includes $500M versus $3B in the House bill. The House also includes $1B in Active Transportation Connectivity Grants.
More detail on the House and Senate bills can be found on the GPA website; this information is from APA and other sources as noted.
President Biden released the American Jobs Plan this Spring, and bipartisan infrastructure legislation is moving forward as noted above. The American Jobs Plan (AJP) proposes $621 Billion in Transportation and Resilience investments. The House proposal largely promotes the AJP. So, I won’t go into great detail on AJP here.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee began marking up their five-year, $547 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill this week. According to the House summary, the INVEST in America Act proposes a significant increase in funding to achieve the vision outlined in the AJP, as highlighted below:
Planning funding: Increases due to climate requirements as well as $1 billion in Metro Performance Allocations. More prescriptive planning requirements than the Senate proposal.
- Roads, Bridges, and Safety: $343 billion,
- Transit: $109 billion, and
- Passenger and Freight Rail: $95 billion
The house bill takes a “Fix it First Focus”, recognizing the backlog of maintenance in our infrastructure. Worthy of note, earmarks included in the House bill total $5.7 billion; reauthorization hasn’t included earmarks since 2005. The earmark process this year includes new requirements for project documentation, local letters of support, sources of full funding, environmental review status, and prior federal funding.
The Senate EPW Committee passed a bill for the highway portion of the surface transportation reauthorization totalling $303.5 Billion with unanimous support in late May. The EPW bill has more state and formula fund focus than the T&I bill, allocating 90% of the funds via formula programs, along with new pilot and grant programs. You can read a fact sheet here.
On Thursday, the Senate Commerce Committee released their Surface Transportation Investment Act which authorizes $78 B over five years to address key infrastructure and safety priorities broken out as follows:
- $36 B for rail,
- $27.8 B for multimodal grant programs,
- $13 B for safety programs, and
- $1 B for R&D
The Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee will write the transit component of the Senate proposal. Senators Osoff and Warnock are both on the Banking Committee. As Georgians, we have a significant voice to promote APA’s priorities.
Of course, the House Ways and Means Committee has to approve how to fund the infrastructure package. Funding will likely be a focus for the next few months in both the Senate and the House.
We’ll talk about the future of the Highway Trust Fund in a future newsletter.