The big infrastructure bill approved by members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has won the support of the nation’s largest professional planning group.
That $287 billion bill will find a wide array of highway, road, and bridge construction and upgrading projects across the country.
If approved, what is officially called America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act, will authorize and pay for surface transportation programs for a period of five years beginning on October 1, 2020.
The Washington-based American Planning Association is lauding the legislation, praising in particular its funding for $700 million in emission reduction grants, and nearly $1 billion for infrastructure resiliency grants.
In a website posting written by Jason Jordon, director of policy for the APA, the legislation’s $3.3 billion competitive grant program for bridge rehabilitation and replacement is singled out, as is the bill’s continued funding of the federal Surface Transportation Block Grant program.
As it is about to be reviewed by the full Senate, Jordon warns that the major hurdle facing the legislation will be the financing and tax provisions.
“That will test the political will to deal with a gas tax increase or some other mechanism for securing revenues that pay for the bill,” writes Jordon. “That will be no small feat, especially as a new election gets closer.”
The bill has now been placed on the Senate legislative calendar.
By Garry Boulard
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