House T&I Chairman Sam Graves Outlines Spring Agenda
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Updates to national aviation and pipeline safety policies will dominate the upcoming schedule for the transportation panel in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) described his work schedule as “busy and aggressive,” as he directs colleagues to enact “common-sense policies for a more innovative, resilient and efficient transportation and infrastructure network.”
“Looking ahead to the next few months, we have multiple items that must be reauthorized by the committee. This includes a five-year reauthorization of the [Federal Aviation Administration]. We also will pass a pipeline safety reauthorization and a Coast Guard bill. In addition, the committee will address supply chain challenges and bottlenecks,” the chairman told colleagues April 18 during a hearing to consider infrastructure-centric proposals.
Graves highlighted the panel’s ongoing oversight of 2021’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law while previewing the remainder of the 2023 calendar. As he put it, “Throughout our busy schedule, we will continue our oversight of the administration to hold it accountable for its policies.”
“We are looking at the administration’s implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to make sure they are following the law. At the end of the year, we will begin working on a bipartisan Water Resources Development Act for 2024, something our committee has done every two years,” he added. The panel recently kicked off its consideration of the FAA authorization bill.
At the hearing, Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) pressed colleagues to approve his legislation designed to dedicate nearly $800 million through fiscal 2026 for truck parking projects. Earlier this year, Costa introduced the Safer Highways and Increased Performance for Interstate Trucking (SHIP IT) Act with Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.).
“The SHIP IT Act is a must-pass bill this Congress as it also addresses a key part of our supply chain — our trucking industry. Our nation needs a solution to ensure a stable, reliable trucking workforce,” he said in a statement for the committee. “The SHIP IT Act modernizes the system by enhancing the recruitment and retainment of our trucking workforce by modernizing the authority for certain vehicle waivers during emergencies, allowing waivers in response to disease and supply chain emergencies; streamlines the commercial driver’s license process, and incentivizes new truck drivers to enter the workforce through targeted and temporary tax credits.”
Reps. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Angie Craig (D-Minn.)
Shortly after the introduction of the SHIP IT Act, a bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act. Sponsored by Reps. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Angie Craig (D-Minn.), the bill would approve funding to assist agencies with expanding parking capacity for women and men operating trucks. It also would support requisite improvements to existing parking areas for commercial vehicles. Overall, it would authorize $755 million in competitive grants over the next few years.
“Our truck drivers play a critical role in keeping our supply chains moving and intact — and it’s our responsibility to make sure they are able to do so safely and efficiently,” Craig said soon after the bill’s introduction.
Specific to supply chain modernization efforts, Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) pressed colleagues to increase funds for connectivity projects. She explained, “As we try to compete in the 21st century, we must ensure we are moving away from 21st century transportation infrastructure.”
“International bridges, and particularly land ports in communities like mine, must be modernized to keep up with the pace of exponential increase in trade from trade agreements with Mexico and Canada,” she added. “Investment in port modernization will strengthen supply chains, improve operational capabilities and infrastructure capacity, spur economic growth, and bolster national security.”
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