WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Tom Carper (D-DE), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Ben Cardin (D-MD) praised the Senate’s vote to repeal Section 1438 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The repealed provision would have rescinded $7.6 billion in federal-aid Highway Program contract authority on July 1, 2020. The measure passed the Senate as part of the budget continuing resolution. 

Barrasso and Carper serve as chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW). Capito and Cardin serve as chairman and ranking member of the EPW Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure. 

Failure to repeal the rescission would have harmed states, slowed the economy, and cost jobs. The continuing resolution now goes to President Trump for his signature. Barrasso, Carper, Capito, Cardin, and 57 other senators have sponsored legislation to repeal the rescission. 

“The Senate has taken important bipartisan action to help states get highway infrastructure projects done,” said Barrasso. “If it had remained in place, the rescission would have hurt our economy and cost jobs. Now, states can safely plan to fix their roads and bridges. The Senate repealing this rescission was critical and I encourage President Trump to sign it into law.” 

“DelDOT and state departments of transportation throughout the country carefully plan their infrastructure investments every year, allocating funding to projects that both address urgent needs and help them achieve long-term goals in improving their roads, highways and bridges,” said Carper. “In Delaware, a sudden rescission of nearly $8 billion from the federal aid highway program would have put at risk $57 million of federal funds— an amount that is more than 30 percent of the apportionment our state is set to receive in fiscal year 2020. Fixing this rescission was the right thing to do. That said, this completely avoidable crisis should remind us all why it’s so important that we have the political courage to find responsible, sustainable ways to pay for infrastructure investments. I thank Chairman Barrasso and Congressional leaders for getting this repeal across the finish line.”

“Repealing the highway rescission today was an absolute must,” said Capito. “Failure to do so would have resulted in clawing back millions of dollars that states have already contracted out for highway infrastructure projects. This entire ordeal is a good lesson, though: Congress must do its job and fully fund programs like this to prevent more budget brinksmanship in the future.” 

“Investments in our infrastructure are urgently needed and this provision will ensure that federal funding for critical transportation programs in Maryland can continue uninterrupted next year,” said Cardin. “I will continue working with my colleagues to enact longer-term, bipartisan transportation infrastructure policy.” 

Background Information: 

On July 30, 2019, the EPW Committee unanimously passed legislation to repeal the rescission. The repeal was also included in the text of America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act, which passed the committee the same day. 

On June 12, 2019, Barrasso and Carper sent a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), calling for the repeal of the rescission.