Lawmakers stress highway funding, but an infrastructure bill remains months away

From Transport Topics.

WASHINGTON — An infrastructure package will probably take a back seat to bills relating to the Federal Aviation Administration, farming and water resources, which will continue to dominate Congress’ attention in the coming months, according to Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.).

Graves, who serves as chairman of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee, delivered remarks at the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) meeting May 16. His statement echoed that of White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, who announced one week earlier that Congress will probably not pass infrastructure legislation this year. CAGTC’s meeting was one of many events recognizing Infrastructure Week, which is marked nationally by education and advocacy sessions that highlight the state of roads, bridges, rails, ports, airports and more.

Various lawmakers and experts agreed with Graves on the sluggish status of the infrastructure bill. Sanders’ announcement was “just kind of belaboring the obvious,” according to Jeff Davis, senior fellow for the Eno Center for Transportation. According to Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), members of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure have often discussed raising revenues to fund infrastructure, but they have yet to act on any piece of legislation.

“I don’t think there’s going be any major infrastructure bill at all in this Congress. Nothing moves forward,” Lowenthal said. “We are not going to end up with an infrastructure bill, unless I’m in total shock and all the points come together.”