Senate Hearing Begins Fast Act Reauthorization Effort
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) invited AGC to participate in a July 10 hearing to kickoff consideration of legislation to reauthorize the federal highway and transit programs under the FAST Act before it expires September 30, 2020. Sen. Barrasso stated his intention for the committee to take the lead in the reauthorization effort and report out a bill before the congressional summer recess in hopes of avoiding the need for any short-term extensions. AGC’s Highway and Transportation Division Chair Max Kuney of Spokane, Washington, expressed during his testimony the importance of completing a highway bill on time and informed lawmakers of the disruption that can be caused to state highway construction programs and contractors when there is uncertainty about federal funding. Kuney also noted that Congress must provide the revenue necessary to keep the Highway Trust Fund from becoming insolvent and expressed AGC’s support alongside “our many partners in the business community and organized labor” in calling for a motor fuels tax increase.
Kuney’s testimony reflected comments made by senators and other witnesses about the need for significant investment for the repair, replacement, and expansion of the nation’s urban and rural transportation infrastructure. Chairman Barrasso said he intends to pass a five-year bill that would be the most substantial transportation bill ever passed by Congress and that is paid for by highway users. He also stated that the committee’s pending legislation would continue to make improvements in the environmental review process, speed up project delivery, and contain incentives for innovative materials and construction techniques.