What Congress is doing about infrastructure

Sep 28, 2018 | Communications •

“We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways all across our land. And we will do it with American heart, and American hands, and American grit.”

-President Donald J. Trump

Americans rely on our roads, bridges, skies, and waterways for travel, food supplies, and commerce. Many of our communities’ economies and health are dependent on reliable infrastructure. We need it to be reliable and safe. For too long, though, this infrastructure has been allowed to fall into disarray.

How bad has it gotten? Think about the roads you use everyday to go to work, take your kids to school, or to run errands. Would you be surprised to know that the  American Society of Civil Engineers gave the United States a D+ on their infrastructure report card? It’s true — all because of outdated air traffic control systems, more than 200,000 bridges more than 50 years old, 15,000 high-hazard dams, and century-old pipes that are threatening drinking water.

Our infrastructure is a major disaster waiting to happen.

That’s why we were so excited to see  President Trump lay out legislative goals for rebuilding America’s infrastructure. Republicans in Congress took hold of his vision and have been working closely with the Trump administration on these goals and this week made major progress on our infrastructure agenda. Check this out:

House Passes Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization

The House and the Senate came together and agreed on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) legislation that reauthorizes vital transportation services, including the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

What this means for you: In addition to supporting jobs in the United States, FAA reauthorization means we can make reforms that will help modernize aviation and ensure airports are safer and more secure for everyday Americans. With a record number of people traveling by plane these days (an estimated 236 million this summer), we want our air traffic controllers, airlines, and airports to have the best equipment and safety mechanisms in place — not a mountain of red tape standing in their way. It also directs $1.68 billion specifically toward aid for the region recently hit by Hurricane Florence.

Senate Continues Consideration of House-passed Water Infrastructure Legislation

America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 reauthorizes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), and outlines our priorities for water infrastructure, including reducing flooding risk, assisting communities with improving drinking water quality, and ensuring that America’s ports remain competitive. This legislation will also help tackle the backlog of water projects, reduce long-term costs, streamline burdensome regulations, and improve safety.

What this means for you: All of this is about improving safety and ensuring our dams, ports, and waterways are usable for generations to come. Removing red tape means the Army Corps of Engineers has the freedom and flexibility they need for proper maintenance to reduce flood risks, the likelihood of dam leaks, and damage to our environment.

UPDATE: After President Trump signed WRDA on October 23, 2018, both of these bills are now law.

What Else Has the House Passed?

The House has also acted on several other measures to improve our nation’s infrastructure, including:

  • Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act, which updates permitting requirements for oil and natural gas pipelines and electric transmission facilities that cross international borders.
  • Promoting lnteragency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act, which specifies timeframes and procedures for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and other affected agencies to follow in conducting environmental reviews related to natural gas pipelines.
  • Hydropower Policy Modernization Act, which modernizes the regulatory permitting process and encourages the expansion of hydropower generation by improving administrative efficiency, accountability, and transparency; promotes new hydropower infrastructure; requires balanced and timely decision making; and reduces duplicative oversight.
  • Water Supply Permitting Coordination Act, which creates a “one-stop-shop” permitting process through the Bureau of Reclamation to streamline the current multi-agency permitting processes for new or expanded non-federal surface storage facilities.
  • Electricity Reliability and Forest Protection Act, which provides streamlined processes for the removal of hazardous vegetative overgrowth within or adjacent to electricity infrastructure on federal lands.