WASHINGTON — The chairs of three U.S. House Committees on Wednesday released what they called a framework for a five-year, $760 billion investment in infrastructure that would address some of the country’s most urgent infrastructure needs, from the massive maintenance backlog, to designing safer streets, to putting the U.S. on a path toward zero emissions from the transportation sector and increasing resiliency.
The plan put forth by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal, D-Mass., would bolster the Federal role in order to help communities around the country undertake transformative projects that are smarter, safer, and made to last.
Among other things, the three chairmen said the framework outlines major investments, including those in highways, rail, and transit systems, airports, ports and harbors, wastewater and drinking water infrastructure, brownfields, and broadband.
They said it’s infrastructure investment that is smarter, safer, and made to last – with a framework that:
- Brings existing infrastructure into a state of good repair and enables the completion of critical projects through long-term, sustainable funding.
- Sets a path toward zero carbon pollution from the transportation sector, creating jobs, protecting our natural resources, promoting environmental justice, and increasing resiliency to climate change.
- Ensures a transportation system that is green, affordable, reliable, efficient and provides access to jobs
- Provides safe, clean, and affordable water and wastewater services.
- Prioritizes the safety of the traveling public.
- Helps combat climate change by creating good-paying jobs in clean energy, investing in energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas pollution.
- Expands broadband internet access, adoption for unserved and underserved rural, suburban, and urban communities.
- Modernizes 911 public safety networks.
- Creates family-wage jobs with Davis-Bacon and other strong worker protections.
- Supports U.S. industries, including steel and manufacturing, through strong Buy America protections
“Our country has changed dramatically since the 1950s, yet people and goods are now literally stuck trying to move on transportation networks first developed nearly 70 years ago. It’s past time for transformational investments to make our infrastructure smarter, safer, and resilient to climate change, or else we will keep throwing money at an antiquated system that is only holding us and our economy back,” DeFazio said. “The framework we released today is the launchpad we need to move forward on those transformational investments and curb carbon pollution. In the coming months, I look forward to continuing our work to make this framework a reality. The cost of inaction is too great.”
Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves, R-Mo., reacted to the announcement by saying he looked forward to a bipartisan process in the T and I committee.
“I may not agree with all of the principles in the majority’s outline, but as the Republican leader of this committee, I expect to play a constructive role in the development of infrastructure bills before us this year, including expected surface transportation and water resources legislation. Any serious effort toward enacting infrastructure legislation must incorporate Republican principles as well. The time for partisan posturing from House Democrat leadership is over. On this committee, we know the recipe for success in addressing America’s infrastructure needs is through partnership, so let’s get to work.”
Pallone said there was no better way to strengthen our economy for the future than to modernize our badly aging infrastructure.
“This bold framework not only helps us rebuild our nation, it also combats climate change by reducing carbon emissions and moving us towards a clean energy future,” he said. “It will also create good paying jobs, ensure that no community is left behind in the digital economy and help protect Americans’ drinking water. These are investments that we must make for the American people, and I look forward to moving this proposal forward.”
“Because of decades of underfunding and neglect, America’s infrastructure system is falling apart and we’re falling behind our global competitors. The deficiencies of our roads, bridges, transit, water systems, broadband, and electrical grids hold our nation’s economy back,” Neal said. “When we invest in infrastructure, it results in a significant economic multiplier – with each dollar spent, our nation becomes more competitive and prosperous. Democrats’ new infrastructure framework creates jobs, bolsters American industry, and builds the smart, safe connections between communities that our country needs to advance.”