$1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passes House, goes to Biden for his signature ... finally

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Trucking industry and related organizations are praising the House of Representatives' passage last night of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that provides funding for bridge and highway repairs as well as money for, among other things, water projects, expansion of high-speed internet service, environmental cleanup, and public transit.

The bill, which passed 228-206 with 215 Democrats and 13 Republicans voting for it, includes $110 billion for roads, bridges, and other projects.

Trucking-related trade organizations praised the passage of the bill, which President Joe Biden called "a monumental step forward." The president is expected to sign the bill quickly.

In a statement yesterday, the American Trucking Associations said it "is cheering tonight’s passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act," which the association said "bolsters highway safety, creates new career pathways into trucking, reinforces the supply chain with overdue investments, and provides a foundation for long-term economic growth."

ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said in a statement:

“Roads and bridges are not political —we all drive on them. A majority in the House realized this today and did what’s right for the country, not themselves. From farmers to truckers, the millions of hard-working people who make this country great won today.

"Those lawmakers who put their constituents before themselves to help seal this achievement have cemented a lasting legacy that the American people will now see, feel, and use for many decades to come. After countless hearings and meetings on Capitol Hill, ATA members will finally see the fruits of their labor—a 38% increase in road and bridge funding, and an infusion of highly-trained, younger talent into our workforce.” 

NATSO, the organization representing truck stops and travel centers, said the bill "ensures a long-term plan for the nation’s highway and infrastructure programs while laying the groundwork for the future of transportation energy." 

NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings said:

“We are extraordinarily grateful to the Biden Administration and the Members of Congress from across the ideological spectrum who worked with us on policies to support and encourage investments in alternative transportation energy. H.R. 3684 represents sound public policy, and we commend lawmakers for ensuring adequate funding for America’s highways rather than allowing partisanship to jeopardize the long-term health of the nation’s infrastructure. We appreciate that Congress has ensured critical funding for America’s highways without tolling Interstate highways or commercializing rest areas, which would have discouraged the private sector from investing in electric vehicle charging and other emerging technologies.” 

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NATSO also said grant programs established by H.R. 3684 will encourage investments in a range of alternative fuels, including electricity, hydrogen, biofuels, and natural gas, "by allowing for the benefits of innovation and technology development, which will give consumers options, all while competing for their business on price, speed, and quality of service." 

 The trade association also said it appreciates that the bill did not incorporate provisions that would allow states to unfairly compete with the private sector by installing electric vehicle charging stations at rest areas and that locations for alternative fueling must take into account the availability of amenities such as food and restrooms.

In a statement this morning, the Truckload Carriers Association said it "applauds the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure deal through Congress" and urged the president to "sign this bill as soon as possible."

TCA's statement added:

"This bill represents a significant investment in our nation’s roads and bridges and delivers a desperately needed injection into the Highway Trust Fund to keep it solvent.

"We are excited that this language provides an opportunity to expose a younger demographic to an industry that welcomes them and are pleased with the commitments the bill makes to establishing long-term improvements for infrastructure. Even more importantly, Congress has heard our message concerning threats to the independent contractor business model and opted not to include any language regarding the PRO Act that would have jeopardized a business practice that has a long history of success in our industry." 

A statement by President Biden said:

"Tonight, we took a monumental step forward as a nation.

"The United States House of Representatives passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a once-in-generation bipartisan infrastructure bill that will create millions of jobs, turn the climate crisis into an opportunity, and put us on a path to win the economic competition for the 21st Century.

"It will create good-paying jobs that can’t be outsourced. Jobs that will transform our transportation system with the most significant investments in passenger and freight rail, roads, bridges, ports, airports, and public transit in generations."