Posts Tagged ‘infrastructure funding’

Biden Talks Infrastructure Plan With Senators

February 14, 2021

A recent meeting between President Joseph Biden and four U.S. Senators provided a preview of the challenges that lie ahead for efforts to approve an infrastructure plan this year.

The bi-partisan group of Senators agreed with Biden that improving infrastructure should be framed as a way to improve the competitiveness of the United States in the global economy, particularly in competition with China.

“If we don’t get moving, they’re [China] going to eat our lunch,” Biden told reporters during a post-meeting news conference.

Biden noted that China has made massive investments in its rail network, automobile manufacturing and renewable energy capabilities.

Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) agreed that the U.S. needs to revitalize its economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was very good, very good and one reason is that I’ve known the president forever, and we’ve worked together before,” Inhofe said.

At the same time, Inhofe said he would not support a plan that is a vehicle to reduce carbon emissions, something that Biden and many Democrats are sure to seek.

“A surface transportation reauthorization bill can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs to strengthen our economy, and move us to a cleaner, safer future,” said Senator Tom Carper (D-Delaware) in a statement after the meeting.

Carper, who is chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said he was optimistic about reaching a bi-partisan consensus on an infrastructure bill. He said the current surface transportation authorization law expires on Sept. 30 and Congress doesn’t have time to waste.

House Aid Bill Has Some Transit Funding, But Omits Amtrak Funding, Infrastructure Boost

May 16, 2020

A $3 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that passed the House on a largely party line vote on Friday contained some funding for public transit systems but fell well short of what those agencies were seeking.

The legislation, which is opposed by Senate Republicans, also declined to include additional funding for Amtrak that the carrier had sought.

The American Public Transit Association had been seeking $23.8 billion but the House bill allocated just $15.75 billion for transit.

Amtrak had sought $1.63 billion but was shut out. That funding was in addition to the $2.04 billion Amtrak is seeking in its regular grant request for federal fiscal year 2021.

Also omitted from the bill was an infrastructure program that some have been seeking as a pay to kick start the economy.

The House bill, which was named the HEROES Act, is the fourth emergency pandemic funding bill taken up in Congress.

Congress Split on Adding Infrastructure Program to Future Pandemic Legislation

May 10, 2020

Congressional leaders in recent weeks have taken contrasting positions on whether an infrastructure program will become part of any future COVID-19 pandemic relief legislation.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opposes combining the two, telling news reporters that he doesn’t want to borrow money from future generations to pay for an infrastructure plan because it’s unrelated to the pandemic.

He did say he has an interest in doing an infrastructure bill.

On the other hand, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio said addressing the infrastructure is a necessary component of addressing an economic recession that could turn into the next Great Depression without decisive action.

“[The] best way to re-start our economy and put workers first is with a massive investment in the kind of infrastructure that will help future generations succeed—from better bridges and roads, to robust transit and passenger rail service, to fully-functioning ports and harbors, to modernized waste and drinking water systems, and widely available broadband internet,” DeFazio said.

Infrastructure Funding Might be in Next Legislation to Address COVID-19 Pandemic

April 2, 2020

Congress is eyeing a fourth bill to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and it might address infrastructure funding.

President Donald Trump has signaled that he would support a $2 trillion infrastructure package as part of that legislation.

Other congressional leaders have also identified areas they would like to see funded but some observers think that whatever bill makes it through the House and Senate will be limited to health care matters.

Congress most recently approved a stimulus bill providing $2.2 trillion in funding, which is several hundred billion dollars more than the federal budget for one fiscal year.

Lawmakers are hoping that the stimulus bill will benefit the economy by as much as an additional $4 trillion.

The $1.018 billion that the stimulus bill provided for Amtrak was intended in part to limit the funding states must pay for services they support.

In an unrelated development, the American Association of Private Railroad Car Owners reported that several moves of private cars via Amtrak that had been planned in March were canceled by their owners as a result of the pandemic.

AAPRCO also posted its mid-term meeting from March 23 to late July.