Should Congress increase funding in the Department of Transportation for infrastructure improvement projects?
• "Alas, the plan does not contain an agreed-on way to pay for the "largest surface transportation reauthorization package in history," let alone covering the existing shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund’s revenue—even if spending is not increased above the 2015 Fast Act’s levels….Congress must share the blame for this, since over the last 40 years it has again and again diverted highway user tax revenues to an expanding array of non-highway uses. Gas taxes are now diverted to fund urban mass transit, ferryboats, bike trails, even sidewalks. This evolution has seriously undermined the users-pay/users-benefit principle the gas tax was based on, which has undercut public trust in the Highway Trust Fund. This has led a large fraction of the public to oppose needed increases in highway investment, arguing that they’re against an increase in taxes."
Source: Robert Poole (Reason Foundation)
• "STRA won’t "rebuild or revive America’s roads and bridges"—it will undermine all efforts to bring our ginormous maintenance backlog in check and double down on a transportation system where congestion keeps getting worse. People will have to spend more on transportation and taxpayers will have to spend more to make up for these failures. Both Democrats and Republicans lost big in this bill."
Source: Jenna Fortunati (Transportation for America)
• "If we were to pass this bill that President Biden has requested and we do the ordinary funding extension that’s being contemplated here at this hearing and we combined that with the $82 billion we provided over the last year, why, all of that money is enough that, according to 2019 Census data, we could buy every transit commuter in America a $30,000 car...We have spent a staggering amount of money."
Source: Sen. Patrick Toomey (Republican, Pennsylvania)
• "I’m proud that we’ve advanced a robust, bipartisan investment in our nation’s highways, roads, and bridges that will make a vital first down payment on President Biden’s American Jobs Plan. This legislation is an important first step in the critical work needed to upgrade our nation’s infrastructure in a way that creates jobs, combats climate change, and lifts up all Americans for a brighter future."
Source: Sen. Thomas Carper (Democrat, Delaware)
• "The EPW Committee is setting the standard for bipartisan leadership in the Senate. The Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act is the product of months of good-faith negotiations with a lot of back and forth. The quality of the bill and today’s overwhelmingly bipartisan vote are a testament to the care, time, and effort of both Republicans and Democrats. STRA takes meaningful steps to repair our country’s crumbling roads and bridges, creates jobs, simplifies the permitting process, and expands the climate title. The bill is flexible to states’ unique needs and responsive to the urgent need for investment. Just as we did with the water infrastructure legislation, Chairman Carper and I stayed laser focused on producing a bill that can actually become law. STRA is further proof that a bipartisan infrastructure deal is possible."
Source: Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (Republican, West Virginia)
• "CAGTC commends Chairman Carper, Ranking Member Capito and Members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works for introducing the bipartisan Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021. Included in the proposed bill are provisions that would help advance the state of our nation’s multimodal goods movement infrastructure. We applaud the EPW Committee for introducing a bipartisan reauthorization bill that responds to some of the core funding and policy objectives of our Coalition, and we appreciate and support the overall funding increases—34 percent above FAST Act funding levels for road, highway, and bridge programs."
Source: Leslie Blakey (Coalition for America’s Gateway and Trade Corridors)
This bill provides $303.5 billion for the Department of Transportation. These funds will be allocated to the main highway and bridge repairs. The legislation also invests in charging stations for electric cars and hopes to create American jobs through infrastructure projects. Sponsor: Sen. Thomas Carper (Democrat, Delaware)
- Carper, Capito, Cardin, and Cramer Announce Bipartisan Surface Transportation Bill (Press Release)
- Associations ask Schumer to take action on Surface Transportation Reauthorization (Roads & Bridges)
- Senate Committee Advances Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill (Railway Age)
- Commerce Committee Passes Sen. Moran’s Legislation in the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill (Press Release)
- Examining the Senate’s Bipartisan Surface Transportation Bill (Reason Foundation)