EPW Advances Capito-Sponsored Highway Bill
Comprehensive, bipartisan legislation includes several Capito provisions to improve infrastructure, encourage development in West Virginia
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee’s (EPW) Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, today voted at a committee markup to advance America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019, bipartisan legislation she introduced with other committee leaders yesterday to improve America’s surface transportation system. The committee unanimously approved the bill by a vote of 21 to 0.
“After several months of serious bipartisan negotiation, I am so proud of the final surface transportation bill we considered today and even more proud of the incredible bipartisan support it received,” Senator Capito said. “This legislation will help improve the roads, highways, and bridges Americans count on to travel safely within their communities and across the country; facilitate commerce and encourage economic growth; and provide the certainty states and other stakeholders need to complete critical projects. It includes many programs and provisions that I think will appeal to members on both sides of the aisle—not to mention all of the individuals and families it will benefit in West Virginia and across the country—and I look forward to continuing to champion the bill as it moves to the Senate floor.”
The bill authorizes $287 billion over five years—including $259 billion for formula programs—to maintain and repair America’s roads and bridges. That total represents an increase of over 27 percent from FAST Act levels, making it the largest highway legislation in history. It includes provisions to improve road safety, streamline project delivery, protect the environment, and grow the economy. Committee leaders agree the legislation will be paid for.
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.
- Authorizes a mix of formula-based and grant-based programs to begin to reduce transportation-related emissions.
America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act also includes three bills Senator Capito introduced last week with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that would help build and improve transportation infrastructure and encourage economic development in Appalachia: the Appalachian Regional Commission Reauthorization Act, which is also cosponsored by Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.); the Advancing Infrastructure Development (AID) in Appalachia Act; and the Appalachian Regional Energy Hub Initiative Act. Additional information on those bills is available here.
Additionally, the broader legislation includes a measure Senator Capito introduced with Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and others to improve America’s bridges. The Bridge Investment Act would establish a competitive grant program to assist in the repair and replacement of deficient and outdated bridges and ease the national bridge repair backlog. It authorizes $3.265 billion from the Highway Trust Fund and another $3.265 billion in appropriations to fund bridge investments, spread over five years, for a total of more than $6.5 billion in new funding. The bill would also create an innovative evaluation process for proposed projects to ensure the fair and efficient allocation of federal funding.
Read the text of America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act here.
A summary of the legislation is available here.
A section-by-section of the legislation is available here.
To watch Senator Capito’s opening statement, click here.
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