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What They Are Saying about Today’s Surface Transportation Proposals

Consideration of House Democrats’ “My Way or the Highway” bill (H.R. 2) began yesterday and continues into a second day today.  Below are letter and statement excerpts from a variety of transportation, business, and labor stakeholders about concerns with H.R. 2 and support for provisions and principles of Republicans’ alternative reauthorization proposal, the STARTER Act:

“During this uncertain and unprecedented time of economic hardship, manufacturers request that Congress provide more transparency for a proposal of this size and scope. Additionally, several provisions of the proposal add new regulatory hurdles and costs that would have tremendous impact to the freight systems and services that support manufacturing.  We urge the committee to… support the codification of a ‘One Federal Decision’ approach to managing environmental reviews and permitting.”
– National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)

“… LIUNA is concerned that without a clear picture of what the U.S. economy is going to look like in a post COVID-19 world, it is not the time for new constrictive policy changes….  The bill does not address problematic delays in the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), and other permitting processes, and it places further restrictions on construction of new infrastructure capacity, further limiting the beneficial impact of transportation infrastructure investments.”
– Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA)

“As the Committee marks up this legislation, we urge you to include the following provisions to facilitate swift enactment:

  • Ensure connectivity for both rural and urban regions with a balance between maintenance and new construction;
  • Modernize the federal permitting process to ensure better utilization of limited investments while protecting the environment, providing for meaningful public input;
  • Promote the use of innovation, technology and public-private partnerships to address the resilience of surface transportation programs;
  • Promote resilience and adaptation policies that reduce risks for companies and communities ahead of the next crises, including predisaster mitigation;
  • Address greenhouse gas and other emission reductions in ways that ensure continued economic growth and recognize the critical role that building or modernizing new, resilient infrastructure plays in addressing the climate challenge;
  • Support intermodal connections between modes and encourage new entrants such as ride share, innovative technologies including automated vehicles, and other new transportation options to allow enhanced connections;
  • Oppose re-regulation in both trucking and rail industries that impose government mandates that run counter to free market solutions;
  • Consider further program consolidation that ensures greater flexibility for state and local partners to implement national objectives.”
    – U.S. Chamber of Commerce

    “The introduction of two bills, the INVEST in America Act and the STARTER Act, shows each parties commitment to moving a multiyear reauthorization, however, it is unfortunate that a bipartisan compromise is not up for consideration.  While each side may have different priorities, we believe that both bills create a foundation that could pave the way for a bipartisan reauthorization that increases investment, creates jobs, and rebuilds America’s highways and transit systems.”

    – Portland Cement Association

    “In the STARTER Act, Ranking Member Graves and his colleagues have steered clear of unnecessarily divisive policy fights and brought forth commonsense solutions to our transportation and infrastructure challenges. Railroads encourage Congress to focus squarely on what is most important now – improving our nation’s infrastructure.”
    – Association of American Railroads 

    “… the Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL) urges you and members of the Committee to include provisions that will reduce unnecessary permitting delays standing in the way of putting all sectors of American infrastructure back to work.”
    – Association of Oil Pipe Lines

    “ABC urges the committee to consider supporting the STARTER Act to be offered as an amendment to the underlying bill. Most notably, this alternative bill would reduce costly and overly burdensome regulations through improvements to the federal permitting and environmental review process, making it more efficient for major infrastructure projects by enacting sensible reforms such as the codification of the President’s One Federal Decision Executive Order 13807 and modernizing the federal environmental review and permitting process under the National Environmental Policy Act.”
    – Associated Builders and Contractors

    “… we urge you and members of the Committee to include provisions that will reduce unnecessary permitting delays standing in the way of putting America back to work.”
    – American Gas Association; American Public Gas Association; Association of Oil Pipe Lines; GPA Midstream Association; Interstate Natural Gas Association of America

    “We thus oppose Section 8201, as expected to be reported, because it would eliminate uniform international safety transport requirements, weaken compliance and enforcement of those harmonized regulations, and unnecessarily increase costs on businesses and the public during this time of world economic recession.”
    – Coalition of 21 manufacturers, retailers, carriers, wholesalers, exporters, importers, and industries who rely on the safe transport of lithium batteries

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