Posts Tagged ‘American Jobs Plan’

GOP Senators Release Own Infrastructure Plan

April 24, 2021

A number of Republican members of the U.S. Senate have unveiled their own five-year $568 billion infrastructure plan.

It is a counter to a $2.3 trillion plan laid out by President Joseph Biden dubbed the American Jobs Plan.

The GOP senators said their proposal would be more narrow than the Biden plan and focus more on what they termed core physical infrastructure.

Funding allocations in the GOP plan include roads and bridges ($299 billion); public transit systems ($61 billion); freight and passenger rail ($20 billion); water and wastewater ($35 billion); ports and inland waterways ($17 billion); broadband ($65 billion); airports ($44 billion); and water storage ($14 billion); and safety ($13 billion).

The plan would impose user fees on electric vehicles and repurpose some unused federal spending allocated by the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Congress approved in March.

In a news release, the GOP senators said their plan is expected to be a framework for developing bipartisan bills that Congress could pass.

Biden Administration Releases Rail Funding Details

April 12, 2021

The Biden administration has released further information about how money it has proposed to spend on transportation infrastructure will be allocated in his American Jobs Plan.

The plan has earmarked $571 billion in transportation funding including $80 billion for intercity rail passenger service.

The Rail Passengers Association said that funding would be broken down to $39 billion to modernize the Northeast Corridor; $16 billion for Amtrak’s national network; $20 billion for intercity passenger grants; and $5 billion for freight rail and safety grants.

Mass transit would receive $85 billion proposal to be divided by $55 billion for returning existing public transportation systems to a state of good repair; $25 billion to expand transit systems; and $5 billion dedicated to helping implement the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

RPA said that aside from the Northeast Corridor funding, it is not clear how the other funding for passenger rail would be used.

However, the passenger advocacy group said that taking into account White House statements on the matter none of the funding is expected to be used for existing operating costs.

It would instead be used to replace existing rail cars, upgrade existing corridors with additional trains operating at higher speeds, and launching new corridors to cities without service.

RPA said the recently released Amtrak 2035 vision map is not part of the Biden administration plan but does give an indication of what new routes might be developed.

The Biden administration also indicated it will seek $25.6 billion in discretionary transportation funding during the fiscal year 2022 federal budget. That would be a 3.2 percent increase compared with FY 2021.

Amtrak would receive $2.7 billion, a 35 percent increase, while $625 million would be set aside for a new intercity passenger rail grant program.

Biden Outlines $2T Infrastructure Plan

April 1, 2021

The Biden administration on Tuesday released the broad outline of a $2 trillion infrastructure plan that includes $621 billion for transportation infrastructure.

The proposal, called the American Jobs Plan, would allocate $85 billion for public transportation and $80 billion for passenger and freight rail.

“The American Jobs Plan will build new rail corridors and transit lines—easing congestion, cutting pollution, slashing commute times, and opening up investment in communities that become connected to the cities, and cities to the outskirts where a lot of jobs are these days,” President Joseph Biden said during a speech at a carpenters training facility in Pittsburgh.

“You and your family could travel coast to coast without a single tank of gas onboard a high-speed train,” Biden said.

The plan must win approval of Congress, where it already faces Republican opposition.

Various news reports have said Democrats might use the budget reconciliation process to push it through the Senate just as they did earlier this year with a nearly $2 trillion COVID-19 pandemic relief bill that Biden later signed into law.

The Biden plan would boost infrastructure spending over an eight year period.

The proposal triggered positive remarks from many transportation trade associations although the Association of American Railroads was more measured in its support.

The Rail Passengers Association in particular touted the Biden plan for its potential to pay for new rail cars, new corridors, new city pairs and more frequencies on Amtrak’s national network.

RPA characterized the plan as representing a 400 percent boost in intercity passenger rail funding.

American Public Transportation Association CEO Paul P. Skoutelas described the Biden plan as a “forward-thinking investment.”

He said it will enable communities to meet growing mobility demands, create family-wage jobs, expand U.S. manufacturing and supply chains, and grow the economy.”

An AAR statement expressed concerns about how the Biden plan would be funded. Biden has proposed raising taxes on corporations.

Instead, the AAR reiterated its call for a vehicle miles traveled fee that would charge trucks based on weight or axle count and impose an emissions surcharge to fund passenger rail.

AAR did indicate support for what it termed making much-needed investments to restore highways, bridges and roads, and improve ports.

American Short Line and Regional Rail Association President Chuck Baker said his group applauds the Biden proposal overall, saying that short lines railroads “are a critical part of the nation’s infrastructure.”