September 16, 2019

Congress Has 12 Months To Pass Highway, Bridge Spending Bill

As the American Society for Engineers (ASCE) explained last week, before leaving for their August recess, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee passed a five-year surface transportation bill that set a historically-high funding level of $287 billion. The vote, which, as Connecting the Dots reported, was unanimous, also was the first step in reauthorizing federal highway and bridge programs that currently are set to expire on September 30, 2020.

Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives have not yet written complementary legislation, but will over the coming months.

To keep progress moving, the Council for Manufacturing Associations has asked companies and trade associations to sign a letter urging U.S. senators to support a long-term, robustly funded surface transportation reauthorization bill ahead of the September 30, 2020 expiration. The letter makes several specific requests, including:

  • Significantly increase direct federal investments in infrastructure;
  • Fix chronic challenges and address reoccurring shortages in key federal infrastructure accounts such as the Highway Trust Fund;
  • Complement and strengthen existing tools, such as municipal bonds, that successfully deliver infrastructure investments at the federal, state and local levels;
  • Facilitate opportunities for private investment in U.S. infrastructure;
  • Create efficiencies such as accelerating the federal permitting process, while continuing to provide environmental protections, and;
  • Encourage active participation among all levels of government and between public and private sectors without shifting federal responsibilities because no single partner can deliver a well-functioning, national U.S. infrastructure network driven by a long-term vision and funding stability.

Click here to sign on to the letter.

Companies and individuals also can use ASCE’s portal to send a letter to their own representatives in the U.S. House and Senate.

Click here to review MSCI’s stance on infrastructure policy and spending.