WASHINGTON — The chairman and ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the chairs and ranking members of two of the House T&I subcommittees on Thursday sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy requesting two committee-related priorities be included in any upcoming budget agreement.
The letter was signed by T&I Chair Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and Ranking Member Sam Graves, R-Mo.; Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Chair Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C, and Ranking Member Rodney Davis, R-Ill.; and Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Chair Grace F. Napolitano, D-Calif., and Ranking Member Bruce Westerman, R-Ark.
First, the members requested a repeal of the $7.6 billion rescission contained in the most recent surface transportation law, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.
The letter said the rescission, if carried out, would mean that highway funding provided by Congress would be taken back, impacting all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The members wrote: “…the rescission will significantly limit the flexibility of all states and impact the ability to plan and execute highway and bridge projects. These projects are necessary in order to grow the U.S. economy, create jobs, and ensure the nation’s global competitiveness. We therefore request that the rescission be repealed as part of any budget agreement.”
The amount rescinded from each state would vary.
For example, the letter said $693 million of the total is projected to come out of California’s remaining contract authority, $731 million would be rescinded from Texas, New York would face $487 million in reduced contract authority, and $83 million of the rescission would come from Kentucky.
“Regardless of the amount rescinded from each state, the rescission will significantly limit the flexibility of all states and impact the ability to plan and execute highway and bridge projects,” the letter said.
The members also requested that a mechanism to ensure full utilization of annual Harbor Maintenance Tax collections for harbor maintenance and access to the remaining balance in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund be included in the budget agreement. Enacting such a mechanism would make sure the nation’s ports and harbors are fully maintained with the fees collected for this very purpose, the letter said.
“Both requests will ensure our country is able to save and create jobs, grow businesses, and keep our nation globally competitive,” the members said.