Could a federal infrastructure bill finally be in the works?

Congress is back in session this week, and with it, many in the industry are hoping for some definitive moves on infrastructure. Representative Peter DeFazio, chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, urged members of Congress and President Trump to come together to find a compromise over means for funding a federal infrastructure bill. DeFazio referenced a recent report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the 2019 Urban Mobility Report, that stated the number of hours commuters lost to traffic delays has climbed to 54 hours a year.

“This report crystallizes what so many American families, students, workers, and businesses are already feeling every single day in our country—clogged highways, wasted time and money, and mounting frustration,” DeFazio said. “That’s the result of trying to run a 21st-century economy on a 1950s-era transportation system, which simply does not work. Reports like the 2019 Urban Mobility Report are exactly what we should expect after decades of underinvestment at the federal level and a lack of political will to even consider raising the federal gas tax for the first time since 1993, and why we’re left with highways, roads, bridges and transit systems that are inefficient, outdated, and in some spots, downright dangerous.”

Prior to the most recent recess, America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019 was introduced. The $287 billion bill would fund highway infrastructure projects over a period of 5 years.

At the very least, funding the federal government is on Congress’s to-do list in these next few weeks, as a continuing resolution to keep the government open must be passed. In a recent article from Construction Dive, Jimmy Christianson, the Associated General Contractors of America’s vice president of government relations, voiced optimism over the coming weeks in D.C.

Christianson said Congress will likely also reappropriate Department of Defense (DOD) funds diverted from military projects to provide funding for the border wall projects. Last week, the DOD announced it will divert $3.6 billion to the Department of the Army to fund projects on the United States-Mexico border.

Read more: 

  • Why a higher gas tax may not be the best way to fund a highway bill
  • The Federal Highway Administration has redistributed $4 billion in unused fiscal 2019 funds to all 50 states and the District of Columbia to be used on highway construction programs