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American ShipperShippingTrade and Compliance

Rep. DeFazio files $500b transportation infrastructure bill

The ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee introduced the Investing in America: A Penny for Progress Act, which aims to raise roughly $500 billion in transportation infrastructure funding via 30-year Treasury bonds.

Source: ESB Essentials / Shutterstock
The $500 billion Investing in America: A Penny for Progress Act would be financed via 30-year Treasury bonds.

   U.S. House Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., this week introduced legislation that would raise roughly $500 billion to rebuild the country’s “crumbling” transportation infrastructure, according to a statement from DeFazio’s office.
   The Investing in America: A Penny for Progress Act (H.R. 1664) would be financed via an annual issuance of 30-year bonds by the Treasury Department through 2030.
   The bonds would be repaid with money from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which would see increased revenue from the indexing of federal gas and diesel taxes, which have not been raised in more than 20 years. The taxes would be indexed to the cost of constructing transportation projects (pursuant to the National Construction Cost Index) and reduced motor fuel usage from Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.
   According to DeFazio’s office, however, the bill is estimated to only raise the gas and diesel user fees by about 1 cent per year and would be limited to a maximum increase of 1.5 cents per year.
   The ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee estimates the A Penny For Progress Act would represent a 30 percent increase from current infrastructure funding levels, creating an additional $630 million for formula and discretionary freight programs, $3.2 billion for the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program, and $85 million for TIFIA in the first year alone.
   DeFazio noted that since 2013, 17 states have enacted legislation that will increase state gas taxes, and several more are considering similar changes this year, including Alaska, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama.
   “Although states have raised their state gas taxes to meet critical needs, federal partnership is needed to maintain the federal highway system,” he said. “States cannot go it alone.”
   The bill comes just a few days after fellow House Reps. John Delaney, R-Md., Rodney Davis, R-Ill., and Ted Yoho, R-Fla., introduced dual bipartisan infrastructure bills that would be financed with revenues from a one-time bond sale to U.S. corporations and international tax reform.
  “From the first day of his campaign in 2015, President Trump promised to rebuild the nation’s crumbling network of roads, bridges, transit systems, airports and railways,” DeFazio said in a statement. “Earlier this month, I introduced legislation to deliver on the promise of rebuilding our airports. Today, I am introducing legislation that will provide approximately $500 billion in additional investment for roads, bridges, and transit systems, and fill the hole in the Highway Trust Fund.
   “My bill will address our state-of-good-repair backlog, repair or replace deficient bridges, create tens of thousands of good-paying American jobs, and keep us competitive in the world economy,” he added. “A Penny for Progress is a straightforward, practical bill that deserves consideration.”
   According to DeFazio’s office, the bill has already received the support of more than 40 industry organizations, including the American Highway Users Alliance, American Public Transportation Association, American Coal Ash Association, American Concrete Pavement Association, American Concrete Pipe Association, American Council of Engineering Companies, American Iron and Steel Institute, American Road & Transportation Builders Association, American Subcontractors Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Traffic Safety Services Association, American Trucking Associations, Associated General Contractors of America, Asphalt Emulsion Manufacturers Association, Asphalt Recycling and Reclaiming Association, Associated Equipment Distributors, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute, Community Transportation Association of America, International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers, International Slurry Surfacing Association, International Union of Operating Engineers, Laborers’ International Union of North America, Laborers-Employers Cooperation & Education Trust, National Asphalt Pavement Association, National Association of Surety Bond Producers, National Electrical Contractors Association, National League of Cities, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, National Steel Bridge Alliance, National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association, National Utility Contractors Association, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Portland Cement Association, Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute, The Bus Coalition, The Road Information Program, Transportation Trades Department AFL-CIO, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, United Parcel Service, and the U.S. Travel Association.

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