TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
One of the Chamber’s top legislative priorities for 2021 is enactment of a comprehensive, substantial infrastructure package. Last week’s announcement from President Biden and a bipartisan group of Senators has moved us much closer to making a historic infrastructure package a reality. As the House prepares to consider H.R. 3684, the “Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation (INVEST) in America Act,” the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urges the House to work towards enactment of a major infrastructure package prior to the August recess.
Reauthorizing the core surface transportation programs prior to their September 30, 2021, expiration would provide the certainty of federal commitment needed to allow state, local, and private partners to move forward with needed planning and construction of modern, resilient surface transportation.
We are pleased the INVEST in America Act would address some climate-related issues with an emphasis on resilience and by encouraging private sector innovation to build more durable infrastructure.
The Chamber also supports the addition of water infrastructure and resilience provisions that enjoy broad bipartisan support. Priorities of the business community include building smart, modern, resilient infrastructure, funding for water, predisaster mitigation, and PFAS treatment, as companies continue their commitment to improve the economic prosperity and quality of life for both customers and employees.
The Chamber offers the following suggestions to enhance the bill before the House:
- Support improved project delivery by codifying the “one federal decision” principles to improve project delivery and reduce costly permitting delays;
- Remove the provision in Section 1201 that would limit the ability of state departments of transportations to expand the current highway network;
- Remove provisions that add unnecessary labor requirements that would disrupt the operation of deregulated trucking and freight rail,
- Remove provisions that impose unnecessary barriers on the deployment of automated vehicle technologies, and add the SELF DRIVE Act to bolster the safe testing and deployment of automated vehicles.
- Remove provisions that would regulate PFAS as a class and the repeal of risk-cost-benefit decision-making. We suggest revising to replace the class and instead refer to “sub-class, sub-group, or individual chemistries of PFAS based on sufficient evidence and sound science of a similar level of concern.” We support a national drinking water standard for PFOA and PFOS.
The Chamber strongly encourages bipartisan efforts in the House and Senate to enact infrastructure legislation in the near term.
As this process moves forward, we urge members to work together to address what all agree is critical to America’s future economic success and quality of life. Durable, bipartisan solutions provide the best path to gain enactment of a long-term vision and investment to modernize our surface transportation and water systems.
Neil L. Bradley