Last week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee led by Chairman and Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio, introduced a new and transformative surface transportation reauthorization bill, dubbed the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation or INVEST in America Act. The legislation is a 5-year, $494 billion package, which includes $411 billion over five years out of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for highway, transit, safety, and research programs, a 46 percent increase over current FAST Act levels.

Rep. DeFazio in a statement said the INVEST in America Act is “our opportunity to replace the outdated systems of the past with smarter, safer, more resilient infrastructure that fits the economy of the future, creates millions of jobs, supports American manufacturing, and restores U.S. competitiveness.”

The National Association of Counties (NACo) has completed a comprehensive analysis of the legislation that can be found here.

 Some topline highlights, according to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, include:

 Highways Investments: $319 Billion

    • COVID-19 Response and Recovery: Provides $83.1 billion in FY 2021 to ensure agencies can administer programs, advance projects, and preserve jobs in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis. Highway, transit, and safety funds are made available at 100 percent Federal share to eliminate the need for a match in FY21.
    • Projects of National and Regional Significance: Provides more than $9 billion over the life of the bill for large highway, transit, and freight projects that cannot be funded through annual apportionments or other discretionary sources.
    • Fix-it-first: Delivers better roads and bridges faster by prioritizing fixing the broken, outdated infrastructure we already have, including 47,000 structurally deficient bridges, before building new highway capacity.
      • Bridge Investment. Requires States to spend 20 percent of their National Highway Performance Program (NHPP) and Surface Transportation Program (STP) area dollars on bridge repair and rehabilitation projects, supporting approximately $28 billion in “fix-it-first” bridge investments in FY 2022-2025. Increases the off-system bridge set-aside to over $1 billion per year from approximately $770 million in current law.
    • Local Control: $49 billion over five years in dedicated funding to address local transportation needs. Makes reforms to strengthen the State-local relationship, enhance coordination, improve the flow of funds to communities of all sizes, and increase transparency.
      • Community Transportation Investment Grants. This discretionary grant program would provide $600 million per year for local government applicants. Includes broad eligibility for highway and transit projects, with project evaluation done in a manner that will limit political decision-making.
    • Single-Year Grants:
      • Rebuild Rural Grants. This single-year program would provide $250 million for rural communities to address needs on and off the Federal-aid system. Focuses funding on safety, state of good repair, and access to jobs and services.
      • Gridlock Reduction Grants. This single-year program would provide $250 million, of which half is set aside for freight grants. Grants will be awarded for reducing urban congestion in large metro areas, with an emphasis on operational, technological, and mode shift strategies.
    • Federal Lands: Provides an additional $345 million per year for the Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP). The bill also significantly increases funding for tribes, territories, and Federal Land Management Agencies, including $550 million for the Federal Lands Transportation Program and creates a new $400 million per year Federal Lands and Tribal Major Projects Program.
    • Resilience: Creates a new apportioned program ($6.25b for FY22-25) to fund resilience and emergency evacuation needs. Requires States and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to develop an infrastructure vulnerability assessment to guide investments under the program. Makes resilience a core part of the Federal-aid highway program, with expanded eligibilities in other apportioned programs and Emergency Relief (ER).
    • Safety: Addresses rising rates of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths by requiring States with the highest rates to set aside funding to tackle the problem, codifies and expands eligibility for safe routes to school, provides funding to develop active transportation networks, and strengthens emphasis on high-risk rural roads.
    • Climate: Measures state-by-state greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with incentives for best performers in carbon pollution reduction, and a new program to fund resilient infrastructure that can withstand the impacts of climate change.
      • Community Climate Innovation Grants. Provides $250 million per year to non-State applicants for highway, transit, and rail projects, provided they reduce GHG’s.
      • Electric Vehicle Charging and Hydrogen Fueling Infrastructure Grants. Dramatically increases funding for the development of charging stations and other alternative fueling options for electric and zero-emission vehicles.
    • Technology and Innovation: Doubles funding for technology deployment to increase innovation. Increases funding to the Intelligent Transportation Systems Program and expanding smart infrastructure investment in local communities. Creates a new program to fund green materials research and to deploy green construction materials and practices to create smarter, more efficient transportation systems.
    • Vehicle-Miles Traveled (VMT) Pilots: Nearly doubles funding for VMT pilots across the country, and establishes a national VMT pilot program to invest in developing a sustainable funding mechanism for the surface transportation system.

Please find attached copies of the:

2020 Invest in America Bill Summary

2020 Invest in America Section by Section Summary

Thematic Summary – Supporting Local Communities

Thematic Summary – Rebuilding Rural America

Thematic Summary – Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change

Estimated FY 2021-2025 Apportionments

Estimated FY 2021 – 2025 Federal Transit Administration Formula

Final Text of Invest In America Bill

It should be noted that the INVEST Act was not introduced with bipartisan support and it is still the early legislative stage of what will be a long and possibly contentious process. It is expected that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will markup the bill on June 17th and that a floor vote will happen in the first week of July.

Last summer a bipartisan Senate version of a $287 billion in highway spending reauthorization bill, the America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA), was introduced with new reforms and funding sources for the next five years. The full Senate is yet to vote on ATIA, with hopes of a floor vote in the upcoming months.

As each legislative chamber has rolled out its own bill, they will have to come together in a “Conference Committee” to reach agreement on policies and funding levels that can be passed by both parties, and then signed into law by the President. In summary, there is still a long way to go, but the introduction of the INVEST Act is a positive development that includes major funding increases and improved programs that will benefit our local communities.

In the coming weeks, AOC, NACo and NACE will work to provide a more comprehensive analysis of the legislation.