Transportation News for January 27, 2015

  • by BPC Staff
  • on January 27, 2015

Politico Morning Transportation for 1/27/15

By Heather Caygle at POLITICO

FIRST LOOK: $1 TRILLION INFRASTRUCTURE BILL – This morning, Senate Budget Committee ranking member Bernie Sanders will introduce legislation that would invest $1 trillion in U.S. infrastructure over five years, but there’s a problem – he hasn’t identified where that money will come from. “I have my ideas as to where I would like it to come from. But we didn’t put a source of funding in at this point,” the likely presidential candidate told MT on Monday. “I want the emphasis to be on the need to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, to create some 13 million jobs and start the discussion about how we fund it.”

So what’s in the bill? A significant chunk of the funding would go to highway, bridge and transit repair, including a $75 billion annual investment in the Highway Trust Fund. The bill would also provide $5 billion a year for a national infrastructure bank and increase funding for loan and grant programs TIFIA and TIGER. The FAA would get $3.5 billion annually to speed up NextGen implementation and another $2.5 billion each year for airport improvements. Railroads would see $15 billion per year for improvements and high-speed rail investments. Sanders’ bill would also provide funding for water infrastructure, ports, national parks and broadband. Bill summary:

Heavy lift for Congress: The bill is backed by the American Society of Civil Engineers and labor group LIUNA and it’s easy to see why – the legislation contains a lot of things for transpo advocates to love. But coming up with $1 trillion in extra dollars is a legislative long shot to say the least. Lawmakers could barely find the roughly $11 billion needed for a 10-month Highway Trust Fund extension that runs through May. Sanders acknowledged the difficulty Congress faces but said he still felt it important to introduce his bill now. “I think that while we have made some very good progress in the last six years, we shouldn’t kid ourselves,” he told MT. “We need to create millions of jobs and we need to rebuild our infrastructure.”

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