The Portland Cement Association (PCA) issued the following statement in light of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s introduction of the INVEST in America Act last month.
“America’s Cement Manufacturers commend House Transportation & Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio for the introduction of the INVEST in America Act, a five-year surface transportation reauthorization bill. The significant increases in funding in the INVEST in America Act are critically important as our nation deals with high unemployment and economic stagnation as result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Michael Ireland, PCA President and CEO. “PCA stands ready to work with Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate in delivering a robust and bipartisan surface transportation reauthorization bill.”
The bill’s original cosponsors are Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Chair Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Chair Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.). The current surface transportation authorization, the FAST Act, expires Sept. 30.
The INVEST in America Act, which enables the completion of critical projects through long-term, sustainable funding, “is fueled by American workers and ingenuity thanks to strong Buy America provisions and labor protections; authorizes nearly $500 billion over five years to address some of the country’s most urgent infrastructure needs,” the committee noted.
The bill includes Highways Investment of $319 billion, which the committee said:
- Delivers better roads and bridges faster by prioritizing fixing the broken, outdated infrastructure we already have, including 47,000 structurally deficient bridges, before building new highway capacity.
- Modernizes our infrastructure with bold new funding for addressing gridlock and the most impactful projects and bottlenecks that affect local regions and the national transportation network.
- Measures state-by-state greenhouse gas emissions, with incentives for best performers in carbon pollution reduction, and a new program to fund resilient infrastructure that can withstand the impacts of climate change.
- Dramatically increases funding for development of charging stations and other alternative fueling options for electric and zero-emissions vehicles.
- Addresses rising rates of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths by requiring states with the highest rates to set aside funding to tackle the problem, codifies and expands eligibility for safe routes to school, provides funding to develop active transportation networks, and strengthens emphasis on high risk rural roads.
- Doubles funding for technology deployment to increase innovation and creates new program to fund green materials research and to deploy green construction materials and practices to create smarter, more efficient transportation systems.
The legislation also accounts for the economic downturn caused by the global pandemic and ensures states, cities, tribes, territories and transit agencies can administer programs, advance projects and preserve jobs in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis.
The INVEST in America Act authorizes a sharp increase in funding to continue current programs in the first year of enactment of the bill (FY 2021) with wider policy implementation occurring in FY 2022.