House committee's goal: Infrastructure bill by May

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WASHINGTON — Members of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, speaking on a panel this morning as part of the National League of Cities congressional conference, say they are aiming to complete an infrastructure bill by May.

“I know May is probably a little ambitious, but that’s our goal,” says Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., ranking member of the subcommittee on highways and transit. He notes that the president has said that he wants to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure.

The sticking point, notes Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Calif., may be in finding “funding sources that we can all agree on.” Under discussion are options that include raising the gas tax and a new vehicle-miles traveled tax to capture revenue from electric vehicles, both designed to shore up the ailing Highway Trust Fund.

Carbajal also suggests creating a federal infrastructure bank “that will provide low interest loans to states and municipalities so that they can build.”

Complicating matters, however, is that the surface transportation bill, known as the FAST Act, expires in 2020. Getting both major pieces of legislation done in this Congress could be “a big challenge,” acknowledges Robyn Boerstling, a vice president at the National Association of Manufacturers, speaking at today’s panel. Davis believes, however, that if an infrastructure bill can get completed by May, then there is a better chance the two bills can be addressed separately.

Carbajal concludes, “If you don’t have an ambitious timeline, you’ll never get to it.”

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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