The U.S. Congress has passed a new bill to fund work on roads, bridges and other infrastructure throughout the country, with almost $500 billion in funding. The ambitious bill comes from the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, but it faces serious opposition from the Republican minority. It's called the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act, or, the INVEST in America Act.
The INVEST in America Act proposed a comprehensive plan to work on the U.S.'s dilapidated transportation infrastructure, with an eye towards truck safety, efficient parking and environmental concerns. It would fund studies on the safety of commercial vehicles and drivers, and then increase safety measures based on those studies. A designated task force would take an in-depth look at the trucking industry nationwide. According to a report by Fleet Owner, the act itself would only be a part of a larger spending package planned by House Democrats, would would also include money for education, housing and rural broadband access. The overall spending act is called the Moving America Forward Act.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly expects Congres to pass the Moving America Forward Act by July 4, sending it on to the United States Senate. Whether it passes there is another question — the Senate has already been slow to respond to Pelosi's HEROES Act, which allocates money for another stimulus check and other coronavirus pandemic relief efforts.
Still, the INVEST in America Act and the Moving America Forward Act could be more common ground, since both would create jobs that the American people desperately need. They would also stimulate the economy as a whole by making transportation safer and cheaper — particularly commercial trucking.
"For far too long, Congress has taken a pass on trying to solve the toughest problems plaguing our surface transportation system, allowing it to limp along and fall farther and farther behind the rest of the world," said Rep. Peter DeFazio, Chairman of the House's T&I Committee. "That all changes with the INVEST in America Act, transformational legislation that moves our country into a new era of smarter, safer, more resilient infrastructure that fits our changing economy and society."
So far, however, Republican lawmakers have been critical of the INVEST in America Act. Rep. Sam Graves compared it to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal in a tweet on Friday. There is no word on whether the Republican-majority Senate would have similar responses.