In one of the few lines in his State of the Union address that won applause from both sides of the partisan aisle, President Trump urged Congress to pass legislation to “invest in new roads, bridges, and tunnels all across our land.”
The President also said he was committed to “ensuring that every citizen can have access to high-speed internet, including and especially in rural America.”
Trump specifically pointed to legislation sponsored by Wyoming Senator John Barrasso. That measure, regarded as the largest such highway bill in the nation’s history, includes $1.6 billion in new transportation project grant money over a 5-year period for rural areas.
Some $250 million, according to the legislation, would be taken out of the Highway Trust Fund, along with $1.5 billion from the general fund, for the construction, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of transportation projects on tribal lands.
The legislation also includes $250 million for a national program to reduce wildlife/vehicles collisions, with an emphasis on the construction of wildlife crossing structures.
Barrasso’s legislation has so far been approved in the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
Barrasso himself urged passage of his bill in the wake of the State of the Union Address, claiming that the legislation will also reduce red tape, “so that we can build better, smarter, faster, and cheaper.”
The bill, officially called America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act, is now being reviewed by members of the Senate Finance Committee.
By Garry Boulard
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