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Laws that would update the country’s highway and sewage policies were approved by the US House of Representatives on July 1, an attempt by Democrats in Congress to advance President Joe Biden’s billion dollar infrastructure agenda.

The chamber approved the $ 715 billion measure by 221 votes to 201, mostly by party line. Bill sponsors propagated climate change-centered regulations as well as proposals to facilitate the modernization of the goods and passenger transport corridors from the Eisenhower era.

The legislation, entitled “Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (or INVEST) in America Act,” consists of a five-year renewal of surface transportation and policy updates for wastewater management and water infrastructure programs. A motorway law from 2015 expires at the end of September.

“The American people are fed up with potholes, traffic jams, delayed buses and slow trains, lead-contaminated pipes and sewers that jam, the result of decades of underinvestment in our infrastructure, our communities and our future,” said the chairman of the Transportation and Public Services division Infrastructure Committee Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.). “The good news is that this is an American problem that America can solve. With today’s passage of the INVEST in America Act, the House of Representatives has taken a bold and much-needed step to build for the future, combat the existential threat of climate change by modernizing our transportation systems to reduce carbon emissions, and that Improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people. “

Before the bill was passed, spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Described the bill as “a powerful job creation package that takes advantage of a unique opportunity in the century to rebuild American infrastructure.”

“The better we invest – that is the title of the bill – the less it will cost and the better the American people will be in terms of their quality of life, our lives and the strength of our economy,” the spokesman continued.

Overall, the legislation would approve a new round of severe weather resilience programs. It would also approve about $ 300 billion to fund highway systems and about $ 100 billion for transit operations.

Invest Act according to transport issues

Truck policy specific, the legislation would pave the way for $ 1.5 billion from fiscal 2023 to 2026 for safety operations and programs with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It would also set up a truck leasing task force to review lease contracts, assess recruitment practices for commercial drivers, and review underrun protection for commercial vehicles.

Almost every Republican opposed the legislation, arguing that proposals regarding works of art and various technologies did not qualify as infrastructure policy. Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), The leading transport politician in the GOP faction and a major critic of the bill, stressed what he described as the partisan approach of the Democrats to the legislation.

“This was a lost opportunity to partner and pass a bill that takes into account the real infrastructure needs of all of our communities, from our largest cities to the most rural areas,” said Graves. “An agreement had to be reached on this bill; this is shown by the various non-partisan bills and the ongoing discussions in the Senate. But the speaker was not really interested in the two-partisanship; only by implementing this unified vision, as the majority believe that our infrastructure should look like. “

Most of the traffic actors praised the adoption of the measure in the house and called for further measures.

“The American people strongly support infrastructure improvements to accelerate the US economic recovery from the pandemic,” said the Transportation Construction Coalition, a group of road builders and unions. “The TCC is calling on House, Senate and Biden administration leaders to ensure the passage of a land transport law and a broader infrastructure package ahead of the September 30 funding deadline.”

Jim Tymon, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, noted that his group “continues to call for bipartisan law that strengthens and builds on state formula-based funding while maintaining the flexibility that states need enables national transport priorities to be implemented, including equity capital, [resilience], CO2 reduction, safety for all road users, improvement of project execution and maintenance and improvement of their means of transport. “

On the other side of the Capitol, Senate committees have passed highways and freight bills. Still, questions about the likelihood of a highway law reaching the president’s desk remain unclear. Transportation leaders have not resolved the long-term funding problems associated with a multi-year highway bill, and negotiations between the White House and Congressional leaders on an infrastructure package signal the potential for almost all transportation legislation to fall under an infrastructure umbrella.

A bipartisan agreement between Biden and a group of senators on infrastructure policy has opened the door to consideration of a $ 1.2 trillion package that would upgrade much of the country’s mobility network.

“This agreement will more than double funding for state and local programs that improve the safety of people in vehicles, including highway safety, truck safety, pipeline and hazardous materials safety,” said Biden on June 29.

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