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June 7, 2021 12:45 PM, EDT

House Transportation Panel to Consider Highway Bill June 9

Rep.. Peter DeFazioHouse Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) says the legislation facilitates access to new and existing technologies. (Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg News)

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The Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives plans to make good on its pledge to pass some type of an infrastructure bill by July 4. And the path toward that goal runs through the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

On June 9, the transportation panel is scheduled to consider its Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation, or INVEST, in America Act, a five-year, $547 billion meant to update much of the country’s mobility networks. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) insists the legislation departs from the Eisenhower-era viewpoint of highway policy to facilitate access to new and existing technologies.

“The benefits of transformative investments in our infrastructure are far-ranging: We can create and sustain good-paying jobs, many of which don’t require a college degree, restore our global competitiveness, tackle climate change head-on, and improve the lives of all Americans through modern infrastructure that emphasizes mobility and access, and spurs our country’s long-term economic growth,” the chairman said June 4.

Eugene Mulero

Mulero

“The INVEST in America Act puts a core piece of President [Joe] Biden’s American Jobs Plan into legislative text, seizing this once-in-a-generation opportunity to move our transportation planning out of the 1950s and toward our clean energy future,” he added.

According to background the committee provided, provisions specific to trucking include authorizing $2.2 billion in contract authority for fiscal years 2023 through 2026 for motor carrier safety grants. The bill would direct the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s administrator to accelerate the modernization of the agency’s information technology and management systems, complete outstanding statutory mandates and undertake a new Large Truck Causation study. And, it would require FMCSA to review the impact of hours-of-service rules, such as exemptions and expansions of on-duty time for commercial truck drivers which were finalized in a 2020 rulemaking.

House Bill Proposing Funding for Highways by Transport Topics on Scribd

The bill is on track to pass the committee this week, notwithstanding significant pushback from Republicans. The committee’s ranking members recently expressed their frustration with the measure: “Instead of working with Republicans to find common ground on a bill that could earn strong bipartisan support, something our Senate counterparts did successfully last month, this bill moves even further to the left to appease the most progressive members in the majority’s party.”

As Congress debates infrastructure matters, prominent stakeholders continue to champion passage of a big-picture measure by that festive American holiday, July 4.

The Week Ahead (all times Eastern)

June 9, 10 a.m.: The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee scheduled a markup of a multi-year highway policy bill.

Freight Corridor

In a post-pandemic economy, America keeps on trucking.

Legislative Docket

Rep.. Lucy McBath

McBath

The Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act, sponsored by Reps. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), and John Katko (R-N.Y.), would seek to implement existing proposals regarding speed limiter technology. Specifically, the legislation would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require certain commercial motor vehicles to be equipped with speed-limiting technology.

Under the measure, the technology would be set to a maximum speed of 65 mph, or 70 mph with adaptive cruise control systems, as well as automatic emergency braking systems. “The safety and security of our families, our friends, and our loved ones is always of the utmost priority,” McBath said soon after the bill’s introduction on May 25. “The Owings family has done so much to protect other children like Cullum and I want to thank them for all they have done.”

Buzz

Those earmark proposals remain under the microscope by House leadership.

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It’s all about jobs, jobs, jobs.

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President Biden on June 5.

President Joe Biden

We publish weekly when Congress is in session. E-mail emulero@ttnews.com with tips. Follow us @eugenemulero and @transporttopics.

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