Yesterday, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure advanced the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act, a plan to reauthorize national surface transportation funding and infrastructure investment. It would authorize nearly $500 billion over five years to address some of the nation’s most urgent infrastructure needs. The bill now moves to the House floor. 

Arizona would receive an estimated $992 million in transit funding and $5.27 billion in highway funding over the life of the bill. Stanton, the only Arizona member on the Committee, advocated for infrastructure projects and policies to be included in the bill to benefit the state. Read more about the investments and projects in the INVEST in America Act that would impact Arizona.

During a marathon committee markup that lasted more than 24 hours, Stanton proposed three additional amendments that were included in the bill. 

“This bill is an investment in our nation’s infrastructure, from highways to rail to transit,” Stanton said during the committee’s markup. “But it's so much more than that. It helps us meet our responsibility to combat the urgent threat of climate change. It lifts our tribal communities, who for far too long have endured roads that represent developing-world conditions.  It will expand public transportation options--from buses to rail--to help everyday Americans get to work, to school, and the grocery store. And importantly, it is a long-term investment in my home state of Arizona.”

Stanton’s full remarks are available here.

A summary of Stanton’s amendments to the INVEST in America Act:

  • A New Tribal Funding Reporting Requirement: The amendment requires the Department of Transportation to submit an annual report to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works on funding allocated to Indian tribes. The report will provide important information on highway, transit and safety dollars reaching tribal communities in order to help inform whether additional program changes are needed to ensure tribes get their fair share of transportation dollars through competitive and formula programs; and it will provide information on state funding provided to tribal communities.
  • Making Small Starts Projects Eligible for Relief Funds: The amendment will make Small Starts transit projects eligible for the emergency COVID-19 relief program outlined in the bill. Specifically, it will allow Small Starts projects to receive up to an additional 30 percent of the project’s total costs in federal funds for one year. With transit authorities across the country facing reduced revenues due to extremely low ridership, reduced farebox collections, and other revenue challenges related to the COVID pandemic, this eligibility change will make a significant difference. The Tempe Streetcar project is one that will benefit from this provision.
  • Zero Emission Vehicle Weight Limit Exemption: This amendment adds zero emission vehicles to an existing weight limit exemption.  Under current law, natural gas and battery electric vehicles are allowed to exceed the 80,000-pound weight limit on Interstate highways by 2,000 pounds. The exemption recognizes that the technology in these vehicles is heavier than the systems in diesel-powered trucks and as a result are unable to haul the same amount of freight.  This will support the development and deployment of zero emissions vehicles by leveling the playing field with traditional diesel trucks. The amendment ensures that newer technologies that offer environmental, clean energy as well as business performance benefits, are able to stay competitive.

The current surface transportation authorization expires September 30. The bill summary is available here.