Lawmakers start review of INVEST highway funding plan

Sources: Office of Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.); CP staff

U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Pete DeFazio has scheduled a June 17 markup of “Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America” (INVEST) Act, which authorizes $319 billion in highway outlays and $500 billion overall for fiscal years 2021-2025. A successor to the federal highway funding program expiring September 30, it enables completion of critical projects through long-term, sustainable funding, and contains strong Buy America provisions and labor protections.

Chairman DeFazio and colleagues see INVEST:

• Tackling a massive backlog of roads, bridges, and transit systems in need of repair and replacement;

• Building resilient infrastructure that will withstand the impacts of extreme weather;

• Designing streets that are safer for all users, including pedestrians and cyclists;

• Putting the U.S. on a path toward zero emissions from the transportation sector by prioritizing and incentivizing carbon pollution reduction, investing in public transit and the national rail network, building out fueling infrastructure for low- and zero-emission vehicles, and deploying technology and innovative materials; and,

• Increasing funding for public transit options in urban, suburban and rural areas in order to integrate technology and increase routes with tools such as bus-only lanes and priority signaling.

The legislation also doubles funding for technology deployment to increase innovation, and creates a new program to fund green materials research and deploy such materials and related practices to create smarter, more efficient transportation systems. INVEST in America Act authorizes a sharp funding increase to continue current highway, bridge and transit programs in FY 2021, with wider policy implementation occurring in FY 2022.