The National Association of Counties (NACo) joined a coalition of transportation and infrastructure stakeholders calling on members of the 117th Congress to pass a comprehensive, bipartisan infrastructure bill by July 4, 2021. Led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Bipartisan Policy Center, the “Build By the Fourth of July!” initiative aims to unite a diverse group of infrastructure stakeholders who share a common interest in advancing durable, bipartisan support for historic investment in America’s infrastructure. The initiative calls on members of the 117th Congress to make a pledge to pass a comprehensive infrastructure package that includes bipartisan provisions supported by the coalition before July 4, 2021.
The pledge acknowledges that, while the broad coalition of signatories will not agree on every issue, there is a great deal of common ground on which progress can be made. Specifically, the pledge calls for the 117th Congress to include the following policy priorities within a comprehensive infrastructure package:
- Repair and update our crumbling infrastructure
- Stimulate our economy and create middle-class sustaining jobs
- Address climate change
- Promote fiscally and environmentally responsible policies
- Improve federal project approvals
- Address the digital divide
Talks of a comprehensive infrastructure package have been ongoing for the past several years on Capitol Hill. In February 2018, the Trump Administration released their legislative priorities for an infrastructure package. In July 2020, House Democrats passed H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, their vision for a comprehensive infrastructure package. Due to policy disagreements, however, Republicans and Democrats failed to reach a consensus on a final bill. To view NACo’s priorities for comprehensive infrastructure package, click here.
Concurrently, Congress has been working to reauthorize surface transportation programs. The current law, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act (P.L. 114-94), was set to expire on September 30, 2020; however, NACo helped secure a one-year extension to maintain as much funding certainty as possible for counties through the 2021 construction season absent a new, long-term reauthorization. Click here to view NACo’s Surface Transportation 101.
Counties play a critical role in the nation’s transportation and infrastructure system, owning 45 percent of all public roads and nearly 40 percent of the National Bridge Inventory. Counties are directly support 78 percent of public transit systems and 34 percent of public airports that connect residents, communities and businesses with the national and global economies. Each year, counties invest roughly $134 billion in infrastructure and maintaining and operating public works. As we head into a new Congress, we expect a renewed focus on infrastructure that looks different from the vision of the current White House. Counties have appreciated the partnership of President Trump over the past four years and look forward to working with the incoming Administration, as well as our new and existing congressional champions, to continue progress on our shared transportation and infrastructure goals.