Members from all areas of the transportation industry have come together to urge Capitol Hill to take action in the wake of lawmakers’ intent to take into account a $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan, proposed by President Biden and set to be under official consideration very soon.
Because needs for boosting the nation’s infrastructure system are well-known throughout environmental groups, labor organizations, advocacy firms, businesses, and freight industry organizations, stakeholders from across all these areas are agreeing on the benefits surrounding a potential multi-year highway policy bill.
Although many industry members have failed to reach overall agreement on the president’s American Jobs plan–especially due to worries regarding Democrats’ current control in the White House, House, and Senate–a comprehensive infrastructure plan that would involve a multi-year highway policy plan is clearly a positive for nearly everyone.
“[I’m] glad to see [the] White House push for action infrastructure,” said vice president of transportation infrastructure for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Ed Mortimer. “[I’m] not sure whether that means [an] American Jobs [Plan] package or surface transportation [highway policy] authorization. [I] expect them to move separately.”
A Bipartisan Policy Center- and U.S. Chamber of Commerce-led coalition is pushing for an infrastructure package focusing on updates and repairs to be passed by the fourth of July. Such a project, they say, could lead to a variety of lasting employment opportunities and create a much-needed economic boost for the country as a whole.
“Today, we joined BPC Bipartisan and over 300 national and local [organizations] in sending a letter to Congress urging them to enact an infrastructure package by the 4th of July that stimulates the economy and improves quality of life for all Americans,” said the U.S. Chamber recently in a tweet.
The American Public Transportation Association, the Laborers’ International Union of North America, the Transportation Intermediaries Association, and the Natural Resources Defense Council are a few of the more than 300 groups that have joined hands to form the coalition since March.
Additionally, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, along with the Associated General Contractors of America, is co-chairing the Transportation Construction Coalition. This organization will work to light a fire under those who can make moves in regards to the infrastructure package, especially as many stakeholders are claiming that comprehensive infrastructure plans will bring major boosts to the economy.
“The president’s plan will accelerate a long-overdue conversation about how to modernize our roads, bridges, public transit, and other infrastructure systems,” explained Dave Bauer, CEO and president of ARTBA. “Members of Congress from both parties will rightly have their own policy throughs. The most important thing is not whose plan passes Congress, but that at the end of the process, the American people have increased mobility, and the competitiveness of the U.S. economy is strengthened.”
Biden’s plan, which would bring $115 billion for highways and bridges, $85 billion for transit, $80 billion for Amtrak, $25 billion for airports, and $17 billion for inland ports, is being pushed heavily by the White House for Congress to sign into law. Biden has also mentioned that corporate tax rates would need to raise an additional 7% in order for the measure to be fully funded.
Many groups and organizations involving agriculture, autonomous technology, and rural housing have also made known their support for this plan. Although these industries’ stakeholders have previously argued over potential transportation policies and overall budgets, they are now finding agreement due to the plan’s potential in bringing massive transportation legislation through Congress.
“We have been talking about an infrastructure package for years and it has never gotten past a talking point,” noted Beth Osborne of Transportation for America. “This seems to be the most serious effort yet, but when and how it comes together depends on how open the various factions on Capitol Hill are to making a deal.”
Osborne also added that the president’s plan could allow for funding to come through in regards to climate change, racial equity, and pedestrian, bicycle, and motorcycle transportation.
“The only thing that matters is whether we are funding projects that restore infrastructure in need of repair, [improving] roadway safety after one of the most deadly years in decades, and [providing] Americans with access to jobs and essential services whether they can afford a car or not,” she said.