WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor on how it’s time to pass America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA).
Barrasso is the chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW).
Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“I come to the floor today to address America’s aging roads and bridges.
“Our highways are in need of repairs all across the country.
“In some places we need to do rebuilds – new roads.
“That’s why I – along with Senators Carper, and Capito, and Cardin – have introduced America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act.
“This bipartisan legislation is going to make a significant investment in our roads, our bridges, and in our tunnels.
“It will fund our highways at historic levels.
“These investments are critical.
“But just as critical is speeding up government approvals for important road projects.
“Last Congress, the Environment and Public Works Committee – which I chair – heard testimony about a highway project in my home state of Wyoming.
“The project took a decade – a full 10 years – to get the required federal permits, but then it only took a couple of months to get the project done.
“A project that’s going to make our roads safer and more efficient was held up for because of 10 years of waiting for Washington permits.
“A decade to permit.
“Months to build.
“Any American with commonsense knows that is absurd.
“America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act cuts through Washington red tape.
“So projects can get done faster, better, cheaper, smarter.
“We use President Trump’s ‘One Federal Decision’ policy as a model. It’s a great plan, a great policy put forward by the president.
“Under the policy, the president has set a goal for his administration of completing environmental reviews within two years.
“It’s a goal I absolutely applaud.
“Our legislation will codify key elements of that policy into law.
“The bill will streamline duplicative requirements by many different federal agencies on the same project.
“The permitting process will be simplified and will occur faster.
“Our bill also gives states increased flexibility – something that states want.
“So federal approvals can get moving and project construction can get started sooner.
“It reduces the amount of paperwork needed from states to complete projects.
“It’s unacceptable that the federal government would hold up state projects and put drivers at risk.
“Washington should never prioritize paperwork – which is what Washington tends to do – over people’s safety.
“America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act cuts red tape; it makes safety a top priority.
“Our legislation is bipartisan, passing the Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously – 21 to nothing.
“President Trump called on Congress to pass the bill during his State of the Union address last month.
“This legislation is a win for the entire country.
“The time is now to pass America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act so we can reduce punishing and costly regulations and then do the important work of improving highway projects so that they can get built.”
On July 30, 2019, the EPW Committee unanimously advanced S. 2302, America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019. The bill authorizes $287 billion over five years, including $259 billion for formula programs to maintain and repair America’s roads and bridges. ATIA includes provisions to codify key elements of President Trump’s “One Federal Decision” policy to streamline project delivery and federal approvals. The legislation also includes provisions to improve road safety, protect the environment, and grow the economy.