ICYMI: Commerce Committee Members on White House Infrastructure Proposal

February 13, 2018

Yesterday, members of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which exercises jurisdiction over aviation, railroad, broadband, and other key infrastructure, expressed readiness to kick off consideration of infrastructure legislation following President Trump’s announcement of the administration’s plan:


Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), full committee chairman: 

“Through this guidance and letting Congress have the opportunity to write bipartisan legislation, President Trump has offered us direction to meet infrastructure needs in our nation’s states, cities, and rural communities. Aligning federal infrastructure funding with local priorities and looking at other impediments to building would increase accountability and help us meet our most critical infrastructure needs faster.  I look forward to working with my ranking member, Sen. Nelson, and other colleagues on both sides of the aisle to discuss and incorporate their ideas and priorities into legislation.”


Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), full committee ranking member:

“Modernizing our transportation and communication networks is something we all agree the U.S. desperately needs in order to create more jobs and maintain our leadership in the global economy. We need to make real investments - not cuts - in Florida and communities around the country. That’s why I plan to work with Chairman Thune and my colleagues on the Senate Commerce Committee to try to come up with a bill that can garner broad support and include ideas from both parties.” 


Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Aviation Subcommittee chairman:

“As a hub for our nation’s highways, railways, and waterways, improving the strength, safety, and reliability of our infrastructure is critical for maintaining our state’s competitive advantage. The president’s focus on expediting new projects, leveraging federal dollars to boost state, local, and private-sector investment, and modernizing rural infrastructure, including broadband expansion, provides a solid foundation for the committee to begin its work on a broad, bipartisan bill. I look forward to getting to work on a plan that will ensure we have the infrastructure network our economy needs to grow, create jobs, and drive innovation.”


Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Surface Transportation Subcommittee chairman:

“Since my time in the Nebraska legislature, I have worked hard to make long-term infrastructure solutions a priority. With the plan released today, the administration has put to paper some of the ideas I’ve long talked about to move important projects forward. These include: empowering states as decision-makers in the process, reducing regulatory barriers, and streamlining the permitting process. I’m also pleased this plan makes investments in rural America that would strengthen the rural communities, which are the heart and soul of Nebraska. I look forward to working with the administration to implement these ideas that will connect families and communities, keep travelers safe, and grow our economy.”


Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Consumer Protection Subcommittee chairman:

“For years, Washington has neglected to adequately address the unique issues affecting rural America, including the growing Digital Divide. I am pleased that the president’s infrastructure plan includes an aggressive strategy to equip Americans living in rural areas with high-quality roads and bridges, modernized communications networks and the ability to quickly create and build infrastructure important to each community. These kinds of investments will make a clear difference in the lives of Kansans across our state. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to send an infrastructure bill to the president’s desk that streamlines the permitting process, cuts cumbersome red tape and quickly deploys broadband infrastructure to rural America.”


Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and the Coastguard chairman:

“Addressing our nation’s inadequate and deteriorating infrastructure is vital as we continue to reignite America’s economy. I’m pleased to see that as part of this infrastructure proposal, the Trump administration is focused and committed to an element that I believe is crucial for success – reforming our nation’s broken public-works and environmental permitting process. Without these long overdue changes to our regulatory framework – regardless of how much money is spent – we will continue to see years-long delays, exorbitant costs, and the loss of private investment." 


Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.):

“As a strong advocate of the federal government’s responsibility to advance critical infrastructure projects, like the extension of I-11 that I helped push through the Senate and into law, I welcome the release of the Trump Administration’s roadmap to repair our nation’s aging infrastructure. There’s no denying that in Nevada, and across the country, there is a great need to significantly improve our infrastructure, whether it’s highways and bridges, broadband facilities, waterways, or public buildings. As a champion for expanding rural Nevadans’ access to quality, high-speed Internet, I’m also encouraged by the President’s focus to accelerate and streamline the permitting process for broadband buildout and other environmental reviews, which have caused project delays for our own state’s transportation department.”


Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.):

“Today, President Trump announced a bold infrastructure proposal that will provide additional resources and reform existing programs and processes to transform how we address infrastructure investment. By unlocking the overbearing and duplicative permitting process and aggressively leveraging private and local investment with federal dollars, we can stimulate investment, streamline regulations and invest in rural America while providing jobs and economic opportunity across the country.” 


Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.):

“I welcome President Trump’s commitment to improving America’s infrastructure—particularly when it comes to rural communities—and I appreciate his leadership in moving this process forward. The proposal released today is a great starting point that I’m confident will lead to a strong and comprehensive legislative proposal. It’s now time for Congress to continue our work to craft infrastructure legislation that will remove regulatory obstacles, strengthen surface transportation, improve our waterways, and help close the digital divide”


Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.):

“Known as the ‘Crossroads of America,’ Indiana is a logistics, manufacturing, and transportation hub. Modernizing and investing in our infrastructure system is critical for us to remain competitive. The administration’s proposal strives to reward states that secure new non-federal infrastructure revenue, such as Indiana did in 2017, placing the Hoosier-state in the driver’s seat within the confines of this infrastructure proposal. By streamlining onerous permitting regulations, empowering states to invest in their own infrastructure priorities, and significantly investing in rural America, this proposal is welcome news for Indiana as we work to ensure our state is equipped for the jobs of today and tomorrow. I look forward to robustly studying this proposal with my colleagues on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee in the coming weeks.” 


In a joint release yesterday with Commerce Committee Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Thune indicated the committee will convene for a hearing on infrastructure legislation in March.