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What They Are Saying about the Speaker’s Partisan Infrastructure Wish List

The Speaker of the House has taken a “My Way or the Highway” approach to infrastructure, and today the House is expected to vote on the highly partisan H.R. 2.  Instead of seeking bipartisan solutions, this bill adds $1.5 trillion dollars to the Nation’s debt and disguises a heavy-handed and unworkable Green New Deal regime of new requirements as an “infrastructure bill.” 

A wide swath of transportation, business, and policy groups have weighed in with disappointment and concerns about this legislation in recent weeks, as it has received both a name change (from the INVEST in America Act to the Move Forward Act) and a $1-trillion air drop of provisions with the last week.  Others have also offered support for a Republican alternative surface transportation bill, the STARTER Act, which was recently introduced to put Republican infrastructure principles on the table.

The following are some of the latest reactions from many key stakeholders:

U.S. Chamber of Commerce: “Rather than pursuing a bipartisan bill, the House is preparing to take a partisan vote on H.R. 2, the ‘Moving America Forward Act,’ which would move further away from real and meaningful investments in our failing infrastructure.  The Chamber does not support this legislation.  With historic unemployment and tremendous unmet infrastructure needs, now is clearly a time for bold and ambitious action.  There is nothing bold, however, about voting on a bill that does not and will not have the bipartisan support needed to become law.” 

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO): “As the organization representing all 50 state departments of transportation (state DOTs), the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) writes to express our disappointment that the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST) in America Act passed by the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee on June 18 unnecessarily turns back the clock on so many bipartisan surface transportation reforms previously agreed to by Congress. 

“The Surface Transportation Advanced through Reform, Technology, & Efficient Review (STARTER) Act, introduced by T&I Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves, clearly recognizes AASHTO’s core policy principles and our call for an increase and prioritization of formula-based federal funding provided to states and for increased flexibility, reduced program burdens, and improved delivery of projects.  Unfortunately, these critical principles are absent in the Move Forward Act.” 

Competitive Enterprise Institute: “In short, H.R. 2 is monstrous behemoth of a bill that would harm America’s surface transportation. However, it is also a likely harbinger of what lies in store in an America that rejects free markets and limited government.”

Americans for Tax Reform:  “The inclusion of such provisions clearly demonstrates that H.R. 2 is a performative measure meant to appease progressive constituencies and politically-favored industries rather than a serious attempt to fund our nation’s roads and bridges.  Americans for Tax Reform urges lawmakers to vote “NO” on H.R. 2.”

FreedomWorks: “…this near-incomprehensible mass of text primarily contains provisions that would have detrimental impacts on both our economy and our liberties and prioritize partisan politics over actual infrastructure improvements.  H.R. 2 is a fully partisan bill and seeks to implement a partisan, progressive agenda thinly veiled as a condition of essential infrastructure investment.  In short, though investment in our infrastructure is badly needed, the strings that Speaker Pelosi has attached to such funding in H.R. 2 make this legislation untenable.”

National Association of Manufacturers:  “The economy remains fragile. Manufacturing alone lost 1,370,000 jobs between February and April, and although 225,000 manufacturing jobs returning in May was a positive sign, we have a long way to go. For manufacturers, the prospect of a surface transportation authorization is a bright spot that can have the impact of supporting long-term economic growth, mobility and sustainability ….  Manufacturers support efforts to improve mobility, the environment and broader efforts to build resiliency into infrastructure but [the bill] would add new paperwork burdens and additional red tape to execute major infrastructure projects.”

Consumer Technology Association: “…the bill leaves the U.S. standing still on transportation innovation, while the rest of the world moves forward.”

Association of American Railroads:  “At a time that desperately calls for politicians to come together to meet pressing challenges, including infrastructure, the bill woefully misses the mark. Throughout the crafting of the bill and even during the markup, past precedent of bipartisan collaboration was largely absent.”

Americans for Prosperity:  “On behalf of Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I urge you to vote NO on H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act….  The bloated $1.5 trillion bill envisions more federal involvement in infrastructure than ever before, while simultaneously dispatching billions of dollars in wasteful spending on non-infrastructure-related projects and handouts to special interests.  Passed out of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee without any bipartisan support, this bill is little more than a big government wish list.”

National Taxpayers Union:  “H.R. 2 also doubles down on costly regulations and fails to address the underlying inefficiencies of expensive government mandates.  Instead of identifying rules and regulations that artificially increase costs for projects with federal funding, H.R. 2 includes many provisions that increase these federal burdens.”

American Commitment, American Consumer Institute, Center of the American Experiment, Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Center for Individual Freedom, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Hispanic Leadership Fund, The John K. McIver Institute for Public Policy, Let Freedom Ring, Nevada Policy Research Institute, Rio Grande Foundation, Tea Party Nation:  “On behalf of millions of taxpayers and consumers across the country, the undersigned groups urge Congress to oppose the “Moving Forward Act” (H.R. 2). The legislation’s unnecessary extension of renewable investment and production tax credits would subsidize well-capitalized, politically connected corporations at the expense of struggling households, perpetuating unfair, inefficient Robin Hood-in-reverse policies.”

American Farm Bureau Federation, American Petroleum Institute, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, Agricultural Retailers Association, National Tank Truck Carriers, Petroleum Marketers Association of America: “As Congress turns its attention to addressing our nation’s infrastructure needs, we urge you to shape this legislation so that costs and benefits are shared fairly among all users of our nation’s transportation infrastructure.  We are concerned about provisions included in H.R. 2, The Moving Forward Act, that singularly benefit electric vehicle (EV) owners, a small and affluent segment of the driving public, at additional cost to all other Americans….  H.R. 2 would also encourage states to authorize utilities to use their monopoly power to increase everyone’s electricity bill to pay to install electric vehicle charging.”

Associated Builders and Contractors:  “ABC urges members to oppose this bill and the several anti-competitive provisions outlined below….  we are disappointed that that the bill excludes many critical priorities for the construction industry while implementing harmful policies that will be detrimental to our nation’s ability to effectively and efficiently rebuild and modernize its infrastructure.”

National Association of Convenience Stores; NATSO, Representing America’s Travel Centers and Truckstops; Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America:  “Unfortunately, the Moving Forward Act includes provisions that will deter private sector investment in charging infrastructure, which will result in fewer charging options and less competition for the consumer….  NACS, NATSO, and SIGMA strongly oppose this legislation.”

National Association of Small Trucking Companies:  “… we write in opposition to H.R. 2, the INVEST in America Act, noting especially an amendment, mandating higher motor carrier insurance minimums, adopted in markup to an already egregious bill.”

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association:  “OPPOSE Final Passage of H.R. 2, which includes a provision that would more than double the minimum level of financial responsibility for trucking companies, including many small businesses. Inclusion of this provision (Section 4408) was a poison pill for OOIDA and our members, forcing us to vigorously oppose a bill we initially supported.

“Section 4408 will do absolutely NOTHING to improve safety on our highways.  There is not an ounce of reputable research that indicates imposing such a dramatic increase in insurance coverage do anything to reduce crash rates. In fact, federal research reveals how unnecessary this proposal is by confirming only 0.06% of crashes result in damages that exceed today’s minimum coverage limits.

What this provision will do is destroy small trucking businesses in every corner of the country. Increasing the minimum insurance requirements from $750,000 to $2,000,000 in the midst of a major economic downturn would be nothing short of disastrous for many small motor carriers and owner-operators, who are currently struggling to stay in business due to historically low freight rates.”

Alliance for Automotive Innovation:  “… other provisions are structured in such a manner that they undermine our shared objective when it comes to vehicle safety and related technologies….  Rather than advancing U.S. leadership and innovation in defining the future of advanced automotive safety technologies – including automated vehicles – that can significantly reduce the number of fatalities on our roadways each year, the Moving Forward Act seeks to prescribe specific technologies, not a path to the future.  This approach risks delaying the advancement and introduction of important safety technologies to American consumers and undermines U.S. competitiveness in the global market.”

American Gas Association, American Petroleum Institute, American Public Gas Association, Association of Oil Pipe Lines, GPA Midstream Association, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America:  “… pipeline infrastructure projects requiring permits cannot be expedited without provisions that will reduce unnecessary permitting delays standing in the way of putting America back to work.  The intentions of H.R. 2 or any new infrastructure program cannot provide their benefits as soon as we need them if federal reviews of proposed infrastructure projects take five or more years to complete.  Congress can take further steps to make project permitting more efficient and predictable.”

American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers: “… the current federal review process is broken and in need of reform. It is now common for pre-construction reviews to take at least five years, with the inevitable litigation adding many more years, cost, and uncertainty.”

Additional comments and concerns from a variety of stakeholders is available here.

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