Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors
November 1, 2019

 

A modern and well-functioning transportation network is crucial to maintaining the nation’s economic vitality and competitiveness. Congress recognizes this, but still has not provided adequate means to fully fund and rehabilitate our critical infrastructure. In fact, the Highway Trust Fund, which helps to fund the construction and maintenance of the nation’s highway system, faces a nearly $20 billion annual deficit. Most recently, Congress passed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015 and the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act of 2016 to address our deteriorating infrastructure. While these bills were a welcomed first step, more must be done.

Early in his tenure, President Trump put forward an infrastructure plan with the goal of investing at least $1.5 trillion to improve the nation’s infrastructure. The administration’s infrastructure plan had four core objectives: (1) stimulating $1.5 trillion in new investment through $200 billion in direct federal spending; (2) shortening the federal permitting process to two years; (3) investment in rural infrastructure; and (4) improving the training of our workforce. However, the Administration’s plan was met with criticism on Capitol Hill and has since fallen to the wayside.

In July, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed a five-year highway bill to replace the current legislation that is expiring in September 2020. However, several other Committees must also pass legislation to provide funding for the bill, which they have yet to do. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has held preliminary hearings on the subject but has not put forward their own version of a highway bill. The House committee Chairman, Peter DeFazio (D-OR) has stated that the House of Representatives intends to bring their legislation up at the beginning of 2020. As with all things in Washington, how to fund this piece of significant legislation will be a major sticking point on both sides of the Capitol.

Finally, NAW sits on the Infrastructure Working Group coalition, which consists of nearly 120 manufacturing, construction, agricultural and finance trade associations, labor unions, and other diverse stakeholders. The Infrastructure Working Group has been working together to urge Congress to pass a large-scale comprehensive infrastructure package, that will help to revitalize the country’s infrastructure and drive economic growth in all sectors of the economy.

 

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