As members of the U.S. Senate return from the Labor Day recess, they will be confronted with a $287 billion highway bill, the largest such legislation in Senate history.
What is being called the America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019 would, if passed, increase funding for road construction and upkeep, as well as bridge upgrading, exceeding the current $226 billion authorization which is scheduled to expire in October 2020.
Passed unanimously earlier this summer by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, the legislation increases funding for the popular Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant program by 22 percent, for an overall budget of $5.5 billion.
Additional spending will come through the National Highway Freight Program, whose budget will increase from $6.3 billion to nearly $8.5 billion.
The legislation has won the applause of green advocates with the creation of a $1 billion, five-year competitive grant program designed to encourage the construction of natural gas, hydrogen, and electric vehicle fueling infrastructure along highway corridors.
The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to start reviewing the legislation on September 9. The legislation must also be paired with a House version, which is not expected to be introduced until October or November.
At the time of the Environment and Public Works Committee passage, Delaware Senator Tom Carper, co-chairman of the committee, said the legislation will ultimately ensure that “every community reaps the benefits of strong federal investment, with safer roads, cleaner air, greater mobility, and more connectivity.”
By Garry Boulard
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