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House passes $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill with major transportation investment

ATSSA CEO seeks 'long-term, robustly-funded and safety-focused highway bill' before FAST Act expires Oct. 1

The House of Representatives today passed H.R. 2, known as the Moving Forward Act, a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan covering not only traditional transportation, but also schools, housing, drinking water, broadband, and clean energy.

The legislation, led by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal (D-Mass.), included the language from the $494 billion Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act, known as the INVEST in America Act. The bill passed along a party-line vote of 233-188, with Republicans opposing how the bill was crafted and the inclusion of provisions focused on environmental protections.

"ATSSA commends passage of HR 2, the Moving Forward Act, which includes the INVEST in America Act surface transportation legislation. It is critically important for Congress to enact a long-term, robustly-funded, and safety-focused highway bill before the expiration of the FAST Act on Oct. 1. Not only are good-paying American jobs on the line, but the safety of road users in every congressional district will be negatively impacted by needless reauthorization delays," said ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner. 

"ATSSA urges Congress to work in a bipartisan fashion to enact a highway bill before the current law expires. A safety-focused bill will create jobs, ease congestion and will save lives."

The House bill is not likely to see a vote in the Senate as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has shown no inclination to bring the legislation to the Senate floor.

The Trump Administration also made clear its disapproval of the bill by releasing a statement of administrative policy on Monday stating that President Donald Trump would veto it. The statement cited “wasteful Green New Deal initiatives,” a lack of funding for transit in rural areas, and the government taking on additional debt to finance the $1.5 trillion package.

However, Democrats have pointed to the need for an investment in resilient infrastructure as a counter to an increase in extreme weather events, along with the job creation and economic boost that the Moving Forward Act would provide.

Last July, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously passed the America’s Transportation and Infrastructure Act (ATIA), a $287 billion five-year surface transportation reauthorization, with bipartisan support. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the current surface transportation legislation, is set to expire on Oct. 1.

ATSSA’s Government Relations Team provided analysis of the original version of the INVEST in America Act.

ATSSA also hosted a virtual Town Hall discussion of that Act on June 16 featuring Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), who chairs the Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee and was among the Democrats introducing the act. A recording of the session is available for review.

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