EPW Committee Leaders Introduce Most Substantial Highway Legislation in History

Carper, Barrasso, Cardin and Capito introduce America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act

Today, U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) will introduce America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019, the largest highway legislation in history. 

The bill authorizes $287 billion over five years, including $259 billion for formula programs to maintain and repair America’s roads and bridges. The total represents an increase of over 27 percent from FAST Act levels. The legislation includes provisions to improve road safety, streamline project delivery, protect the environment and grow the economy. The committee leaders agree the legislation will be paid for.

Carper and Barrasso serve as ranking member and chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW). Cardin and Capito serve as ranking member and chairman of the EPW Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The EPW Committee will markup the legislation at a business meeting on July 30.

“After months of bipartisan negotiation, I’m proud to introduce this surface transportation reauthorization bill that would make an unprecedented investment to improve our nation’s roads, highways, and bridges, and make our country’s transportation infrastructure work better for every American in every zip code,” said Carper. “America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act will move our country toward a safer, more connected, efficient and climate-friendly transportation system, one that can endure the test of time and keep up with the evolving demands of a 21st century global economy. This bipartisan legislation includes the first-ever climate title in a highway bill and would invest $10 billion in policies and innovative projects aimed at reducing emissions and enhancing resilience. We’re just getting started, but I look forward to moving this bill out of committee this week and the work ahead of us to get it across the finish line.” 

“Every American benefits from better roads and bridges. America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act is a bill for the whole country,” said Barrasso. “The legislation is the most substantial highway infrastructure bill in history. By modernizing our roads and bridges, we can make the roads safer for every family driving on them. The bill cuts Washington red tape, so road construction can get done faster, better, cheaper, and smarter. It will help create jobs and support our strong, growing, and healthy economy. Infrastructure is critical to our country and we should responsibly pay for this legislation. I want to thank Ranking Member Carper and all the members of the committee for their work and input on this legislation. America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act will grow the economy, make our roads safer, and enhance quality of life for the American people.”

“Investing in America’s infrastructure is one of the most effective ways Congress and the federal government can spur economic growth today and into the future, while preparing our communities for changes in climate and extreme weather,” said Cardin. “This bipartisan bill incorporates new programs and improvements to existing programs that will be vital for Maryland’s economy and quality of life, including investments in freight infrastructure, bicycle and pedestrian access, climate change resilience, and the rehabilitation and replacement of bridges. Ensuring the future of our roads and paths, bridges and tunnels, is an investment in the future of all American neighborhoods.”

“Having safe, reliable infrastructure is critically important to so many aspects of our lives—from getting to and from work and school or traveling long distances to supporting commerce and driving economic growth. Not only will this comprehensive, bipartisan legislation help us rebuild and repair America’s infrastructure system, but it will also help create new infrastructure opportunities now and for future generations,” said Capito. “I’m proud of the work my colleagues and I have done on this legislation, especially several provisions I included in the bill to focus on rural states like West Virginia and to encourage development and improve infrastructure, including both surface and broadband infrastructure, in Appalachia. I look forward to continuing our work together to advance this legislation—which I’m certain will help improve travel on roads, bridges, and highways, as well as quality of life, for Americans across the country.”

Among other provisions, the legislation: 

  • Authorizes $287 billion in highway spending and is the most substantial highway legislation in history;
  • Authorizes $259 billion to be distributed to states by formula;
  • Codifies key tenets of the “One Federal Decision” policy to streamline project delivery and federal approvals;
  • Establishes a program to support projects that will improve the resiliency of roads and bridges to natural disasters and extreme weather events; and
  • Authorizes a mix of formula-based and grant-based programs to begin to reduce transportation-related emissions.

Text of the legislation can be found here, and a summary of the bill can be accessed here. Read the section-by-section of the legislation here.


On July 10, 2019, the EPW Committee held a hearing titled “Investing in America’s Surface Transportation Infrastructure: The Need for a Multi-Year Reauthorization Bill.”