House T&I Outlines FY25 Agenda

WRDA, IIJA Oversight Top To-Do List
Capitol Agenda Eugene Mulero

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The transportation committee in the House of Representatives recently approved a road map for achieving policy initiatives over the coming months. The panel’s action took place a week before President Joe Biden is scheduled to deliver his State of the Union address.

Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), the panel’s chairman, led the adoption of the fiscal 2025 budgetary views and estimates. The document outlines myriad expectations for T&I members. These initiatives include further pursuing oversight of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law and approving comprehensive water infrastructure legislation. A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers has been tasked with advancing the committee’s legislative priorities through the chamber.

In addition to tackling Biden administration climate initiatives, Graves affirmed: “This year, the committee will also draft and consider the next bipartisan Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).”

“It is important to maintain the two-year cycle of passing WRDAs to authorize projects for ports, locks and dams, inland waterways, flood protection, and to provide needed direction to the Army Corps of Engineers,” the chairman said Feb. 29. “In addition, our ongoing oversight efforts will help the committee as we prepare for the next highway bill in the next Congress.”

“I look forward to the House playing a robust role in this process and for this committee to develop the next surface transportation authorization bill in a bipartisan manner, like our work on the [Federal Aviation Administration] reauthorization,” he added.

Rep. Sam Graves

Graves by Mariam Zuhaib/Associated Press 

Headlining the committee’s agenda is an FAA update and a WRDA bill, as well as oversight of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s implementation.

“While IIJA provided historic levels of funding to address America’s infrastructure needs, stakeholders have previously raised concerns that increased inflation has undermined those funding [increases]. While inflation has moderated from the 40-year high reached in June 2022, stakeholders continue to cite elevated prices, including the cost of construction materials. The committee will conduct extensive oversight to monitor the disbursement of the IIJA funds to ensure the DOT complies with congressional intent, as well as the effective and efficient use of taxpayer dollars,” according to the budget document titled, “Views and Estimates of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for Fiscal Year 2025.”

Other proposals for fiscal 2025 before T&I include closely monitoring federal railroad operations, oversight of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and identifying “long-term funding solutions” for the Highway Trust Fund.

“The committee acknowledges that increased [Highway Trust Fund] spending coupled with stagnant fuel tax rates and declining gasoline tax revenues, among other factors, have contributed to the HTF’s solvency issues. Increased fuel efficiency as well as the prevalence of electric vehicles (EVs), have reduced overall fuel consumption, driving down gasoline tax receipts,” per the document. The fund, backed by revenue from the federal fuel tax, assists states with maintenance and construction projects.

Joe Biden


Infrastructure will be among the key themes Biden will raise during his State of the Union on March 7. Reflecting on his administration’s record a week prior to his speech before Congress, the president said: “America is now being rebuilt by the biggest infrastructure law in nearly 70 years. We’re making critical investments so our economy can outcompete China. We’re standing up for our values and our most urgent national security interests in the world because of it.”

For stakeholders, it would be reassuring to learn Congress and the White House will collaborate to accomplish a comprehensive transportation agenda this year. What seems more probable is for election-year politics to control the national narrative.

The Week Ahead (All Times ET)

March 6, 10 a.m.: The House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee meets for a hearing titled, “Implementation of the Recommendations of the Accountability and Transparency Review and Efforts to Ease Coast Guard Manpower Shortages.” (watch live)

March 6, 10 a.m.: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee meets for a hearing titled, “Examining Extended Producer Responsibility Policies for Consumer Packaging.”

March 6, 10 a.m.: The Senate Commerce Committee meets for a hearing titled, “National Transportation Safety Board Investigations Report.” (watch live)

March 7, 10 a.m.: The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meets for a hearing titled, “Department of Transportation Discretionary Grants: Stakeholder Perspectives.” (watch live)

March 7, 9 p.m.: State of the Union (watch live)

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Legislative Docket

Over the weekend, congressional leaders unveiled fiscal 2024 legislation for transportation programs and other agencies. The chambers are expected to take up the measure prior to Biden’s State of the Union. The president on March 1 enacted into law a short-term measure guaranteeing funding for most federal agencies through March 8. Prior to the law’s enactment, congressional leaders had announced bipartisan efforts designed to fund transportation programs and other federal agencies through fiscal 2024.

“We are in agreement that Congress must work in a bipartisan manner to fund our government,” said Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) in a statement Feb. 28 that included the chairwomen and ranking members on the Appropriations committees. “Negotiators have come to an agreement on six bills: Agriculture [Food and Drug Administration], Commerce-Justice and Science, Energy and Water Development, Interior, Military Construction [Veterans Affairs], and Transportation [Housing and Urban Development]. After preparing final text, this package of six full-year appropriations bills will be voted on and enacted prior to March 8,” the congressional leaders explained. Specific to the ongoing negotiations, Johnson told reporters: “The appropriations process is ugly. Democracy is ugly.”


McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican, announced that he will give up his post at the end of the year. The longtime senator’s departure in November will reframe the GOP’s leadership structure in the upper chamber. “After all this time, I still get a thrill walking into the Capitol and especially on this venerable floor knowing that we — each of us — have the honor to represent our states and do the important work of our country. But Father Time remains undefeated,” he told colleagues from the floor of the chamber. “I am no longer the young man sitting in the back, hoping colleagues would remember my name. It is time for the next generation of leadership.”

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We publish Mondays when Congress is in session. See previous installments of Capitol Agenda here. Email with tips. Follow us @eugenemulero and @transporttopics.

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