House Panel to Examine IIJA Implementation Sept. 29

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The ongoing implementation of provisions included in last year’s $1 trillion infrastructure policy law will be the focus of a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives this week.

The leadership of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which was instrumental in crafting the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, plans to review on Sept. 29 aspects of the law pertaining to severe weather resilience, vehicle electrification programs and freight connectivity.

Titled “Investing in our Nation’s Transportation Infrastructure and Workers: Why it Matters,” the hearing will provide a forum for stakeholders to share with members of the panel examples of progress associated with the law.



Proponents of the IIJA, such as the Biden administration, continue to point to its potential benefits to the economy by improving mobility corridors.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (Joran Vonderhaar/Bloomberg News)

“We’re hard at work implementing the bipartisan infrastructure law, funding so many great projects,” Secretary Pete Buttigieg said this month during a tour of the country. “The thing that I see and feel everywhere we go … is the passion that people bring. Not, maybe, because they’re transportation wonks like me, but because they’re passionate about their own neighborhoods, and communities, and families, and workplaces, and lives.”

The IIJA, commonly referred to as the bipartisan infrastructure law, was enacted Nov. 15.

The House committee meeting will come on the heels of a Senate hearing that highlighted the law’s impact on local agencies. Secretary Nicole Majeski of the Delaware Department of Transportation, was among the witnesses before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last week. She emphasized the IIJA’s goal of promoting equity across the transportation landscape “to assess our projects and initiatives and target future transportation improvements.”

The panel’s Democratic leadership echoed her endorsement of the law’s provisions.

Tom Carper

Carper

“In the 10 months since President [Joe] Biden signed the bipartisan infrastructure law into law, the U.S. Department of Transportation has been hard at work standing up new programs and administering the historic amounts of highway funding that Congress provided,” EPW Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) said at the hearing. “In March of this year, this committee held its first hearing on the implementation of the bipartisan infrastructure law. During that hearing, we heard from Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg about the department’s work to promptly get formula funding out to the states.”

Carper added, “This is critical so that states can get to work on projects that will improve their highways, bridges, and multimodal infrastructure.”

Most Republicans on the transportation committees, meanwhile, point to certain policies that congressional Democrats and the White House have advanced. These GOP members argue such policy directives are detrimental for a post-pandemic economic recovery.

This infrastructure bill is not what was promised to the American people.

Sen. Sam Graves (R-Mo.)

Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.)

“This infrastructure bill is not what was promised to the American people when it was signed into law last year,” Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) argued in a recent editorial published in The Washington Times. Graves is the House transportation panel’s ranking member. “The administration is doing its best to ensure that taxpayers are getting even less highway, airport, port and water system improvements than they should be getting.

“With a recession likely on the horizon, I hope it’s finally becoming obvious to this administration that it must start shifting its priorities and attacking our 40-year-high inflation and these other crises instead of letting them run wild.”

The Week Ahead (all times Eastern)

Sept. 27, 2:30 p.m.: The Center for Strategic and International Studies hosts a panel discussion titled, “Is U.S. Infrastructure Ready for Hydrogen?”

Sept. 28, 2:15 p.m.: The Senate Aviation Safety, Operations, and Innovation Subcommittee meets for a hearing titled, “FAA Reauthorization: Integrating New Entrants into the National Airspace System.”

Sept. 29, 10 a.m.: The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meets for a hearing titled, “Investing in our Nation’s Transportation Infrastructure and Workers: Why it Matters.” Watch the hearing here.

Freight Corridor

The FMCSA has a newly confirmed administrator in Robin Hutcheson.

Legislative Docket

Bost

Bost

Senators on the Environment and Public Works panel recently highlighted a House bill designed to facilitate access to parking for the nation’s truck drivers. The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, sponsored by Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.), awaits consideration before the House chamber.

The measure would provide transportation agencies funding for building or expanding parking areas for commercial motor vehicles. Specifically, it would incrementally connect agencies with nearly $800 million through fiscal 2026 to “provide parking for commercial motor vehicles and improve the safety of commercial motor vehicle operators.”

I’ve championed the need for expanded truck parking for a long time because it impacts the safety of everyone on the road,” Bost, who sits on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said in July.

Midterms ’22

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California

McCarthy

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and his fellow House Republican leaders recently unveiled a comprehensive policy platform meant to help position their party for victory in the November midterm elections. At stake is majority control of the chamber, which is held by Democrats. An aspect of the House GOP’s policy position proposes to enhance supply chain connectivity.

Per the plan: “The frightening supply shock of baby formula this year was the tip of the iceberg of a broken supply chain that has increased costs and left store shelves empty. Record inflation is driving increases in the price of everyday essentials while our country remains dangerously reliant on foreign countries like China for critical supplies, medicines and technology.”

Favorite Video

Recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Fiona, such as power outages and poor access to water, Puerto Rico finds itself on the White House’s radar.

Favorite Tweet

The transpo wonks take in the sounds of “All aboard!”

The Last Word

Small businesses are the heart of our economy and a key driver of economic growth and opportunity.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Sept. 20

Gina Raimondo

We publish Mondays when Congress is in session and add updates throughout the week. See previous installments of Capitol Agenda here. Email emulero@ttnews.com with tips. Follow us @eugenemulero and @transporttopics.

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