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House leaders asked to address infrastructure priorities in budget talks

This week, leaders from the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure in the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy requesting two committee-related priorities be included in any upcoming budget agreement.

The letter was signed by House T&I Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-Mo.); Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Chair Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.); and Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Chair Grace F. Napolitano (D-Calif.) and Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.).

According to a release from the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, the members firstly requested a repeal of the $7.6 billion rescission contained in the most recent surface transportation law, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The rescission, if carried out, would mean that highway funding provided by Congress would be taken back, impacting all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

In the letter, the members wrote: “…the rescission will significantly limit the flexibility of all states and impact the ability to plan and execute highway and bridge projects. These projects are necessary in order to grow the U.S. economy, create jobs, and ensure the Nation’s global competitiveness. We therefore request that the rescission be repealed as part of any budget agreement."

The committee members also requested that a mechanism to ensure full utilization of annual Harbor Maintenance Tax collections for harbor maintenance and access to the remaining balance in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund be included in the budget agreement. Enacting such a mechanism would ensure the nation’s ports and harbors are fully maintained with the fees collected for this very purpose, according to the committee.

The committee says that both requests will see to it that the country is able to save and create jobs, grow businesses, and keep the nation globally competitive.