WASHINGTON — House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) has released text of the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST) in America Act.
DeFazio said INVEST in America is a key component of the Moving Forward Framework that House Democrats introduced earlier this year. The current surface transportation authorization expires Sept. 30.
“The INVEST in America Act, which enables the completion of critical projects through long-term, sustainable funding and is fueled by American workers and ingenuity thanks to strong Buy America provisions and labor protections, authorizes nearly $500 billion over five years to address some of the country’s most urgent infrastructure needs,” DeFazio said.
David Heller, vice president of government affairs for the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), said TCA is in the process of examining the bill’s contents.
“We are encouraged by the dialogue regarding this important issue and finally moving the needle on meaningful infrastructure legislation that will be the framework of freight transportation for years to come. We remain committed to being actively involved in these discussions and communicating the positions of TCA with all parties involved,” Heller said. “The effects of our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, as well as various other aspects of the bill, certainly present TCA with another opportunity to tell our story to our congressional leadership in an effort to fully educate them on the issues that present themselves in this legislation.”
DeFazio said the nation’s infrastructure needs include:
- Tackling the massive backlog of roads, bridges and transit systems in need of repair and replacement.
- Building resilient infrastructure that will withstand the impacts of climate change and extreme weather.
- Designing streets that are safer for all road users, including pedestrians and cyclists.
- Putting the U.S. on a path toward zero emissions from the transportation sector by prioritizing carbon pollution reduction, investing in public transit and the national rail network, building out fueling infrastructure for low- and zero-emission vehicles, and deploying technology and innovative materials.
- Sharply increasing funding for public transit options in urban, suburban and rural areas in order to integrate technology and increase routes and reliability with tools such as bus-only lanes and priority signaling.
- Improving access to federal funding to help communities around the country undertake transformative projects that are smarter, safer and made to last.
Todd Spencer, president and CEO of the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) said the association supports provisions in the bill, including increased funding for highway construction, $250 million for truck parking projects, provisions that will help limit excessive detention time and predatory lease-to-own schemes, new restrictions on tolling and further analysis of questionable H-1B Visa use within the trucking industry.
Spencer said truckers will also like what didn’t find its way into the bill, including speed limiter and side underride guard mandates, an increase in minimum insurance requirements or truck size and weight limits, and the lowering of minimum age requirements for interstate drivers.
In introducing the bill, DeFazio pointed to the plight of the nation’s infrastructure,
“The bulk of our nation’s infrastructure — our roads, bridges, public transit and rail systems, the things that hundreds of millions of American families and businesses rely on every single day — is not only badly outdated, in many places it’s downright dangerous and holding our economy back,” DeFazio said.
“Yet for decades, Congress has repeatedly ignored the calls for an overhaul and instead simply poured money into short-term patches,” he continued. “The result? We’re still running our economy on an inefficient, 1950s-era system that costs Americans increasingly more time and money while making the transportation sector the nation’s biggest source of carbon pollution.”
DeFazio said the INVEST in America Act is an opportunity to replace the outdated systems of the past with smarter, safer, more resilient infrastructure that fits the economy of the future, creates millions of jobs, supports American manufacturing and restores U.S. competitiveness.