Senior senator joins Maryland’s Cardin and GOP Sens. Barrasso and Capito in sponsoring legislation
Bipartisan legislation that would beef up federal spending for highways was announced.
U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) will introduce America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019.
The bill authorizes $287 billion over five years to deal with aging highways and bridges. Provisions call for fast-tracking needed projects.
The bill passed the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee by a unanimous vote.
Delaware has struggled with an aging interstate system as well as inadequate roadways in fast-growing areas in Sussex County.
The legislation includes provisions to improve road safety, streamline project delivery, protect the environment and grow the economy. The committee leaders agree the legislation will have a funding source.
The national gas tax has not been increased in decades and improving fuel economy figures are leading to stagnant fuel tax revenues.
Carper and Barrasso serve as ranking member and chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW). Cardin and Capito serve as ranking member and chairman of the EPW Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
“After months of bipartisan negotiation, I’m proud to introduce this surface transportation reauthorization bill that would make an unprecedented investment to improve our nation’s roads, highways, and bridges, and make our country’s transportation infrastructure work better for every American in every zip code,” said Carper. “America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act will move our country toward a safer, more connected, efficient and climate-friendly transportation system, one that can endure the test of time and keep up with the evolving demands of a 21st century global economy. This bipartisan legislation includes the first-ever climate title in a highway bill and would invest $10 billion in policies and innovative projects aimed at reducing emissions and enhancing resilience. We’re just getting started, but I look forward to moving this bill out of committee this week and the work ahead of us to get it across the finish line.”
Among other provisions, the legislation:
- Authorizes $287 billion in highway spending and is the most substantial highway legislation in history;
- Authorizes $259 billion to be distributed to states by formula;
- Codifies key tenets of the “One Federal Decision” policy to streamline project delivery and federal approvals;
- Establishes a program to support projects that will improve the resiliency of roads and bridges to natural disasters and extreme weather events; and
- Authorizes a mix of formula-based and grant-based programs to begin to reduce transportation-related emissions.