“Chairman DeFazio (D-OR) and Members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) recently introduced the INVEST in America Act, a five-year surface transportation reauthorization proposal. The proposed bill would provide a total of $547 billion for roads, bridges, transit, and rail infrastructure, which is an increase of $53.2 billion compared to the previous authorization.
While we appreciate the T&I Committee responding to some of the core funding and policy objectives of our Coalition, replacing Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) with Projects of National and Regional Significance (PNRS) misses the true benefit of both these competitive grant programs. Each is essential to funding large-scale freight infrastructure projects.
An innovation in the bill is the proposal to establish a joint task force between the Department of Transportation and the Internal Revenue Service to study the establishment and administration of a fee on multimodal freight surface transportation services. Should the benefits of establishing such a fee be proven, CAGTC’s long-term goal of a dedicated revenue stream for freight infrastructure could be realized.
We are encouraged by T&I’s leadership in releasing proposed legislation that includes sustained, flexible levels of investment in our national freight network. In addition to the INVEST in America Act’s call to study a dedicated freight revenue source, the Coalition applauds other elements in the bill, such as:
Since our founding in 2001, our Coalition has championed an approach to freight infrastructure funding with broad modal and applicant eligibility; we believe freight infrastructure investment will pay dividends by improving America’s competitiveness for years to come.
- Broad eligibility for multimodal projects in the PNRS program;
- Removal of the modal cap on available project funding for the National Highway Freight Program (the freight formula program); and,
- Commitment to rebuilding bridges by dedicating $32 billion for bridge funding.
As our national economy continues to reopen, much will be asked of our multimodal freight system. Robust, sustained, dedicated investment that is commensurate with the infrastructure needs of our supply chain is critical to supporting our nation’s return to prosperity.”