Should Congress invest $78 billion in transportation improvements?

Awaiting Vote
Bill Summary

This bill apportions $78 billion to solving infrastructure problems over the span of five years. The money will go towards multimodal and freight grants; railway projects such as Amtrak; safety measures for highways, trucks, and hazardous waste transportation; and research. Sponsor: Sen. Maria Cantwell (Democrat, Washington)
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Opponents say

•     "NCAP was intended to push the auto companies to make their cars better than the minimum safety standards. But America has fallen short, because we’ve never given the agency the money it needs to adequately update the program as technology evolves. It’s just really sad."

Source: Joan Claybrook (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

•    "We are seeing a full-frontal assault on [traffic] safety by special interests who are using the economic downturn as a front to … erode progress that’s already been made. Putting 18-year-olds behind the wheel of a multi-ton rig is a recipe for disaster."

Source: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Democrat, Connecticut)

•    "We cannot accept these tragedies as inevitable. Instead, we must immediately implement proven strategies and technologies that can save countless lives moving forward."

Source: Sen. Ed Markey (Democrat, Massachusetts)

Proponents say

    "With the economy rebounding, it’s imperative that our long delayed transportation needs are addressed. Whether it’s moving people safely, delivering freight on time, or addressing environmental needs, this legislation is a down payment to thrive and compete in the innovation economy."

Source: Sen. Maria Cantwell (Democrat, Washington) 

•    "This bill continues the Commerce Committee’s strong history of working across the aisle to find solutions that benefit all Americans. The legislation will grow the economy by increasing authorized funding and making improvements to our rail, freight, ports, research, and safety programs.  I thank Senator Cantwell for her dedication to these issues, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass a comprehensive infrastructure package through the Senate."

Source: Sen. Roger Wicker (Republican, Mississippi) 

    "As Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and having recently passed legislation unanimously to invest in our roads, bridges, and highways, it’s great to see momentum continuing on this critical issue. The legislation passed today would increase funding levels for the safety programs that are consistent with the increased funding levels that our surface transportation legislation in the EPW Committee provided for roads and bridges. Finally, I want to thank the committee for working with me to include language that would increase investments to address substance-impaired driving, drunk driving, and innovative transportation technologies."

Source: Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (Republican, West Virginia)