Washington, DC – “BPC commends Chairman Carper and Ranking Member Capito for doing the hard work to come together and advance serious bipartisan legislation to reauthorize federal surface transportation programs,” said Jason Grumet, president of the Bipartisan Policy Center. “EPW should be commended for leading the way with bipartisan legislation that is an essential component of comprehensive infrastructure package.”
The bill, sponsored by Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) significantly strengthens the federal funding commitment to the nation’s surface transportation programs. Additionally, it addresses several key areas:
- Regulatory Reform: Codifies “one federal decision” to reduce the time and costs associated with gaining federal permits and project approvals, to address a key barrier to private investment. BPC’s Smarter, Cleaner, Faster Task Force has made 23 recommendations on how to improve the permitting process.
- Climate Authorizations: Includes authorization for grants to address climate resiliency and deploy electric vehicle charging infrastructure. It allows states to use up to 15% of specific grants for protective features that enhance road and bridge resiliency and creates a grant program that will strategically deploy publicly accessible electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
- Long-term Funding: Consistent with BPC’s recommendations, the bill authorizes a pilot program for a vehicle miles travelled user fee and a federal advisory committee to make recommendations on how to implement the fee.
- Public Private Partnerships: BPC’s Executive Council on Infrastructure has estimated there could be as much as $250 billion available in private investment funds to help finance public infrastructure with some key policy changes. We encourage the committee to amend Section 1508, which adds analytical and reporting requirements only to projects carried out through public-private partnerships, so that all project delivery options are considered on a level playing field. We also encourage the committee to include incentives for public agencies to complete life cycle costs analyses and asset inventories so that private investors can better evaluate the true costs and risks of a project.
“I urge other committees of jurisdiction to follow suit in developing provisions for broadband, clean energy, permit modernization, and other hard infrastructure components that enjoy bipartisan support,” Grumet added.