America's Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019

U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Tom Carper (D-DE), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Ben Cardin (D-MD) will introduce America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019. The bill is the largest highway legislation in history. The committee passed the legislation unanimously, 21-0. 

The bill authorizes $287 billion over five years, including $259 billion for formula programs to maintain and repair America’s roads and bridges. The total represents an increase of over 27 percent from FAST Act levels. The legislation includes provisions to improve road safety, streamline project delivery, protect the environment and grow the economy. The committee leaders agree the legislation will be paid for.

“Every American benefits from better roads and bridges. America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act is a bill for the whole country,” said Barrasso. “The legislation is the most substantial highway infrastructure bill in history. By modernizing our roads and bridges, we can make the roads safer for every family driving on them. The bill cuts Washington red tape, so road construction can get done faster, better, cheaper, and smarter. It will help create jobs and support our strong, growing, and healthy economy. Infrastructure is critical to our country and we should responsibly pay for this legislation.

“After months of bipartisan negotiation, I’m proud to introduce this surface transportation reauthorization bill that would make an unprecedented investment to improve our nation’s roads, highways, and bridges, and make our country’s transportation infrastructure work better for every American in every zip code,” said Carper.

Among other provisions, the legislation:

  • Authorizes $287 billion in highway spending and is the most substantial highway legislation in history;
  • Authorizes $259 billion to be distributed to states by formula;
  • Codifies key tenets of the “One Federal Decision” policy to streamline project delivery and federal approvals;
  • Establishes a program to support projects that will improve the resiliency of roads and bridges to natural disasters and extreme weather events; and
  • Authorizes a mix of formula-based and grant-based programs to begin to reduce transportation-related emissions.

Read the text of the legislation here.

Read a summary of the legislation here.

See the broad support for America's Transportation Infrastructure Act here

America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018

S. 3021, America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, supports our nation’s economic competitiveness by increasing water storage, providing protection from dangerous floodwaters, deepening nationally significant ports, and maintaining the navigability of inland waterways across the country. The legislation also cuts red tape, is fiscally responsible, and increases state and local stakeholder input for water infrastructure projects.

Creates Jobs and Grows the Economy

  • Authorizes or reauthorizes important water infrastructure programs and projects
  • Maintains navigation routes for commerce and the movement of goods to keep America competitive in the global marketplace
  • Deepens important coastal and inland ports
  • Increases water storage and supply for rural America
  • Repairs aging irrigation systems to grow agricultural based economies
  • Invests in the maintenance and construction of water and wastewater infrastructure
  • Invests in the development of a strong water utility workforce

Cuts Red Tape

  • Transfers a Corps permit for a flood control project to a non-federal interest when that interest takes over the project, eliminating the need to obtain a new permit 
  • Makes it easier for needed local projects to move forward as part of the Corps’ 7001 approval list

Fiscally Responsible

  • Includes billions of dollars in deauthorizations and reduces the deficit
  • Reauthorizes the Water Infrastructure Flexibility Act (WIFIA) and includes a modified version of the Securing Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now Act (SRF WIN Act) to allow for leveraging millions in non-federal funds for water projects

Promotes Federalism

  • Ensures local communities have more input into which projects receive funding
  • Creates a process where the Corps must provide certainty to states and localities who are applying for approval on water storage projects 

Protects Lives and Property

  • Reduces flooding risks through the construction and maintenance of dams and levees
  • Invests in repairing aging drinking water and wastewater infrastructure
  • Gives small and rural communities assistance in the cleanup and prevention of pollution in their drinking water and wastewater systems
  • Provides technical assistance to states to help complying with expensive and burdensome EPA regulatory standards that states cannot afford

Key Provisions in America’s Water Infrastructure Act would:

  • Cut bureaucratic red tape to ensure local communities have more control over which projects receive support.
  • Deauthorize billions of dollars and reduce the deficit.
  • Reauthorize the Drinking Water State Revolving Funds for the first time since 1996. Giving states certainty that they can address the drinking water needs of communities.
  • Allow for sediment management plans for Army Corps and Bureau of Reclamation reservoirs to restore the active water storage capacity of these reservoirs. Many of these reservoirs have lost a significant amount of water storage capacity due to sediment build up.
  • Increase transparency during the permitting process for new water storage projects done by a state or local government. This provision will allow the Army Crops to more clearly and quickly assess and communicate the purpose and need, on proposed new or modified water storage projects.
  • Increase overall authorizations for certain Continuing Authorities Programs (CAP).
  • Authorize the Environmental Protection Agency to provide $25 million in grants to nonprofit organizations to provide technical assistance and training to small, rural and tribal water systems in order to come into compliance with the Clean Water Act.
  • Reauthorize WIFIA and the SRF WIN Act which authorizes millions of dollars to accelerate investments in our nation’s water infrastructure, leveraging to billions of dollars in investment. 
  • Extend until 2030 the program to address the deferred maintenance needs of Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) dams. These dams protect communities across the West from dangerous floods.
  • Establish a ten-year pilot program to expedite the review of applications for permits to expand small city (80,000 people or less) reservoirs to increase water storage and supply if the city water supplies have been polluted from legacy Department of Defense (DOD) activities where mitigation is occurring. 
  • Extend the Indian Irrigation Fund through fiscal year 2028. This fund was created in the WIIN Act and is used for maintenance, repair, and replacement activities of Indian irrigation projects.

Read the text of America’s Water Infrastructure Act here

Read the section-by-section of the legislation here

Additional Infrastructure Legislation

Brownfields Reauthorization

The Brownfields program, which is administered by the EPA and has strong bipartisan support, provides grants and technical assistance to states, local governments, tribes and redevelopment agencies to support the assessment, cleanup and reuse of Brownfield sites. Reauthorizing the program was a key element of President Trump's infrastructure plan.

On March 22, 2018, Congress passed legislation to reauthorize and enhance the Brownfield’s program. The legislation provides liability relief for state and local governments that acquire these contaminated properties for cleanup and re-use. It also provides liability relief for Alaska Native villages or Alaska Native Corporations that received contaminated land from the federal government under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).

The legislation also provides funding for technical assistance grants to small communities and rural areas, expands the scope of eligible grant recipients to include non-profit organizations, and authorizes funding for multi-purpose grants to tackle more complex sites.

The bill was signed into law by President Trump.

Background Information:

On July 12, 2017, the committee passed S. 822, the BUILD Act, with Chairman Barrasso’s substitute amendment. The chairman’s amendment included additional liability protection for state and local units of governments as well as Alaska Native Villages and Village Corporations. 

Water Infrastructure Flexibility Act

America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 would reauthorize the Water Infrastructure Flexibility Act (WIFIA). WIFIA will promote leveraging millions in non-federal funds for water projects. 

On October 5, 2017 the Senate passed WIFIA. 

On April 5, 2017, the EPW Committee moved forward WIFIA at a Business Meeting

On March 28, 2017, the EPW Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife held a hearing entitled, “Legislative Hearing on S. 518, a bill to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to provide for technical assistance for small treatment works, S. 692, the “Water Infrastructure Flexibility Act of 2017” and S. 675, the “Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act.”

Read the text of the legislation here.

Carbon Capture Infrastructure

The bipartisan Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act would clarify that carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) projects and CO2 pipelines are eligible for the permitting review process established by the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. This will help incentivize the development of carbon capture infrastructure projects. 

Learn more about the USE IT Act here

Background Information:

On April 11, 2018, the EPW Committee held a legislative hearing on the USE IT Act. 

On March 22, 2018, a bipartisan group of Senators joined with sponsors Chairman John Barrasso and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse to introduce the USE IT Act. 

Read the text of the USE IT Act here.

Infrastructure Relief for Tribal Communities

On March 22, 2018, Congress authorized spending levels for the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. This authorizes over $24 million for the Irrigation Rehabilitation and Renovation for Indian Tribal Governments and Their Economies Act (IRRIGATE) Act and over $38 million for the Dam Repairs and Improvements for Tribes (DRIFT) Act.

The IRRIGATE Act will help address the deferred maintenance needs of tribal irrigation construction projects to ensure that:

  • Risks to public or employee safety or to natural or cultural resources are mitigated
  • Management and efficiency of the tribal irrigation programs are not stifled

The DRIFT Act will address the needs of aging dams that create flood risks by: 

  • Directing the Bureau of Indian Affairs to establish a dam safety program
  • Directing the Bureau of Indian Affairs to establish a program that provides guidance to tribes on best practices for the mitigation and prevention of floods
  • Permitting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide assistance to tribal water infrastructure projects

The bills were signed into law by President Trump. 


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