Click here to watch Chairman Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), delivered the following remarks at a committee business meeting.
At the business meeting, the committee considered the following items:
• Substitute amendment to S. 2302, America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act;
• S. 1992, A bill to amend the FAST Act to repeal a rescission of funds; and
• 6 General Services Administration resolutions.
To watch the full business meeting, click here.
Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“This morning we will consider two pieces of legislation – Barrasso-Carper-Capito-Cardin substitute amendment to S. 2302, America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act.
“We’ll also take up S. 1992, a bill I introduced along with Ranking Member Carper to repeal a $7.6 billion rescission in Federal-aid Highway Program contract authority.
“I introduced America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act, along with our fellow leaders on the Environment and Public Works Committee – Ranking Member Carper, and Senators Capito, and Cardin.
“The legislation, as modified by the substitute amendment by the four of us, will make a historic investment in our roads, cut Washington red tape, keep communities safe, and will help to continue to grow America’s economy.
“The bill authorizes $287 billion from the Highway Trust Fund over the next five years.
“This is the most substantial highway infrastructure legislation in history.
“Of that money, $259 billion – or 90 percent –will go directly to our roads and bridges through highway formula funding –a program that has successfully worked in our states across the country.
“Formula funding gives each state the flexibility to address their specific surface transportation needs.
“By distributing the funding through this formula, the legislation will help every state in the nation and keep projects moving ahead.
“It is good for rural areas. It’s good for urban communities. It is good across the country.
“Between new authorizations, loan leveraging programs, state-match requirements, and likely additions from the Commerce and Banking Committees, our bill’s total impact on infrastructure will be nearly half a trillion dollars – a historic total.
“The bill will speed up project delivery, will cut Washington red tape – so projects can get done faster, better, cheaper and smarter.
“It codifies key elements of President Trump’s ‘One Federal Decision’ policy so the approval process for states is simplified.
“It also gives states increased flexibility and reduces their paperwork burdens.
“Important safety road projects which take months to build, shouldn’t take a decade to permit.
“The legislation will promote innovation and incorporate new technologies into road construction and management to expedite project delivery.
“Increasing safety is a top priority throughout the entire legislation.
“The legislation includes grant programs to incentivize states to lower the total number of driver and pedestrian deaths from car accidents.
“It also establishes a pilot program to build highway wildlife crossings, to help mitigate the dangers created when animals cross major roads.
“America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act establishes a competitive grant program to address the backlog of bridges in poor condition.
“Our bill will help build more durable roads that can withstand extreme weather events like floods, natural disasters such as wildfires, earthquakes, and rockslides.
“The bill will also expedite the permitting of gathering lines on federal land and, with tribal consent, Indian land as well.
“Gathering lines are small pipelines that help capture methane and reduce the venting and flaring of natural gas.
“They also help reduce heavy-duty truck traffic servicing oil and gas wells.
“This provision is good for the environment, American energy production, and for public safety.
“This bill will also help reduce emissions from our transportation infrastructure by creating voluntary programs for states and reauthorizing successful programs like the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act.
“It also includes the ‘USE IT’ Act which stands for Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies, something that has already passed through this committee.
“Ranking Member Carper and I agree this legislation must be paid for.
“We will work with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Wyden to pay for the bill.
“One way to help pay for it is to ensure every driver using the roads is contributing to maintaining them.
“Right now, drivers of electric vehicles don’t contribute to the Highway Trust Fund.
“An electric car puts as much wear and tear on the roads as any other vehicle.
“They need to be paying their fair share in terms of a user fee for electric vehicles.
“Everyone who drives on our roads should contribute to the maintenance.
“The legislation will grow our economy, will create jobs, and will improve the quality of life for the American people.
“I want to thank Ranking Member Carper, Subcommittee Chairman Capito, Subcommittee Ranking Member Cardin, and the other members of this committee for their partnership in writing this bill.
“America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act is bipartisan, it is substantial, and it will help the entire country.
“Introduced yesterday, the bill already has the support from a number of organizations – the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO); the US Chamber of Commerce; National Association of Manufacturers; the American Highway Users Alliance; American Road & Transportation Builders Association; the American Council of Engineering Companies; the National Stone, Sand, & Gravel Association; the North American Concrete Alliance; the American Trucking Association; and many more.
“Today, we are also going to consider legislation to repeal section 1438 of the FAST Act, which rescinds $7.6 billion in Federal-aid Highway Program contract authority on July 1, 2020.
“Ranking Member Carper and I agree that if this rescission is not repealed, it will harm states, slow the economy, and cost jobs.
“We can’t let that happen.
“Lastly, we will consider 6 resolutions to approve prospectuses providing for General Services Administration leases.”