February 3, 2020

U.S. House Democrats, Republicans Each Offer Principles For Infrastructure Investment

On Wednesday, January 29, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives unveiled an “infrastructure framework” that will guide their development of a surface transportation reauthorization bill. Republicans in the chamber released their own ideas earlier in the week.

The Democrats’ framework, which can be found here, recommends that the federal government invest $760 billion over five years in transportation, water, brownfield, and digital infrastructure. The plan also recommends many mandates and new regulations on environmental and transportation regulatory policy. More than 40 percent of the investment ($329 billion) would go toward investment in highways and bridges. Another $160 billion would go to transit and rail.

The Democrats’ framework also calls for almost $35 billion in energy-related infrastructure improvements, including:

  • Investing in electric grid modernization to accommodate more renewable energy and to make the grid more secure, resilient and efficient.
  • Encouraging local communities to invest in energy efficient infrastructure including retrofitting and weatherizing buildings and funding energy efficiency and conservation projects to reduce carbon pollution and put people back to work;
  • Strengthening existing energy supply infrastructure and expanding renewable energy infrastructure in low- income and underserved communities to increase climate resiliency and reduce greenhouse gas pollution across the country; and
  • Supporting the development of an electric vehicle charging network to facilitate the transition to zero emissions vehicles from coast to coast.

In a press release, Republican House members said they would:

  • Address the long-term sustainability of the Highway Trust Fund by using other sources of funding that fuel taxes;
  • Incorporating innovative technological developments;
  • Streamlining regulations to ensure projects are completed more quickly;
  • Focusing on infrastructure in rural communities;
  • Fixing and improving highways and bridges, and facilitating interstate commerce and the movement of freight and people; and
  • Ensuring state flexibility.

The current surface transportation law, the FAST Act, expires on September 30, 2020. Stay tuned to Connecting the Dots as the congressional debate on infrastructure continues.