WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Transportation Infrastructure; and Senator Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), the EPW Subcommittee’s Ranking Member, with Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), EPW Chairman, and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va), the Committee’s Ranking Member, Saturday announced the release of a bipartisan surface transportation reauthorization bill that will be marked up by the EPW Committee on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.
“This comprehensive surface transportation legislation is a strong, bipartisan move forward. The bill signifies a major and much-needed federal commitment to our nation’s transportation infrastructure and sends a clear signal that climate change is a top priority for our infrastructure investments going forward,” said Senator Cardin. “This legislation includes support both for reducing emissions and improving resilience, as it should. It also deepens federal support for critical community projects like bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure through the Transportation Alternatives Program, which I co-authored. There is much more work to be done to address the full spectrum of our infrastructure needs, but this measure decisively helps us begin to answer the president’s call to build back our infrastructure, better than ever.”
“Today we are going big, proposing the largest surface transportation reauthorization package in history,” said Senator Cramer. “Like any successful collaborative effort, neither side got everything they want, but I am glad we were able to find common ground and put forward a bipartisan plan to rebuild and revive America’s roads and bridges. Our bill contains high levels of support for rural communities, ensures resources are distributed in an equitable fashion using the current funding formula, significantly reduces bureaucratic regulations which prevent projects from being progressing in a timely manner, and provides states with flexibility to implement federal guidance. I look forward to marking it up with my colleagues on Wednesday.”
“I’m proud to join with my colleagues in crafting a bipartisan bill that invests in our nation’s transportation infrastructure at a historic high level, and in doing so, helps create jobs, curbs our carbon emissions, and expands opportunities for the American people,” said Chairman Carper. “We must reauthorize the surface transportation bill before its current authorization expires in September: it is a vital foundation for President Biden’s American Jobs Plan. I look forward to continuing to work to transform our nation’s infrastructure and equip our economy for the future.”
“Safe and reliable infrastructure is something every American can get behind,” Ranking Member Capito said. “From the beginning of this process, I have expressed my desire to work together across the aisle to develop a bipartisan solution to address our nation’s infrastructure challenges. Our bill unveiled tonight accomplishes this. Not only will this comprehensive, bipartisan legislation help us rebuild and repair America’s surface transportation system, but it will also help us build new transportation infrastructure. These critical investments will help to provide economic opportunities now and for future generations. I am so proud of the work my colleagues and I, as well as our staffs, have done on this bill, especially the provisions I worked to include that focus on rural states like West Virginia. I look forward to continuing our work together to advance this legislation that will go a long way in improving our roads, bridges, highways, and quality of life for all Americans.”
The Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021 sets a new baseline funding level at a historic high of $303.5 billion for Department of Transportation programs for highways, roads, and bridges. This marks an increase of more than 34 percent from the last reauthorization to pass Congress, the FAST Act, in 2015.
The prior authorization for surface transportation programs expired in 2020; Congress passed a one-year extension that will expire on September 30, 2021.