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The National Association of State Highway and Transportation Unions (NASHTU) is dedicated to ensuring that federal transportation dollars are spent on cost-effective, safe projects that serve the public interest. NASHTU is comprised of 38 unions and associations representing hundreds of thousands of state and locally employed transportation engineers, construction managers and inspectors, technical workers and related public servants from throughout the United States.

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July 20, 2021

Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal on the Ropes

The Senate is teeing up a key vote this week on a bipartisan infrastructure framework that would invest billions of dollars into the country’s “physical” infrastructure, including roads, bridges, water, broadband, power grid upgrades, climate resilience and many other sectors.  However, while the framework initially enjoyed bipartisan support, GOP lawmakers are now signaling that the effort has no chance of advancing on Wednesday.

The framework, which was released in late June, is the product of 10 Democratic Senators and 10 Republican Senators who sought a more moderate compromise to President Biden’s American Jobs Plan.  The American Jobs Plan was released in March and called for $2.25 trillion in infrastructure investments over the next eight years.  By comparison, the bipartisan framework narrows the definition of infrastructure to “physical” infrastructure and includes only $579 billion in new spending to rebuild America’s infrastructure.  Specifically, the bipartisan framework proposes the following investments:

Transportation: $312 billion

  • Roads, bridges, major projects:           $109 billion
  • Safety:                                                 $11 billion
  • Public transit:                                      $49 billion
  • Passenger and freight rail:                   $66 billion
  • EV infrastructure                                $7.5 billion
  • Electric buses / transit                         $7.5 billion
  • Reconnecting communities:                $1 billion
  • Airports:                                              $25 billion
  • Ports and waterways:                          $16 billion
  • Infrastructure financing:                     $20 billion

Other Infrastructure: $266 billion

  • Water infrastructure:                           $55 billion
  • Broadband infrastructure:                   $65 billion
  • Environmental remediation:                $21 billion
  • Power infrastructure, including grid:  $73 billion
  • Western water storage:                       $5 billion
  • Resilience:                                           $47 billion

The biggest hurdles facing the bipartisan infrastructure framework is that the text of the legislation remains unwritten and, of course, there is considerable heartburn over the identified sources of funding for the plan.  The bipartisan group plans to meet ahead of Wednesday’s vote to continue writing the text of the legislation.  The bigger problem is the identified funding sources for the plan, which is encountering difficulties with both sides of the political spectrum.  Many conservative legislators and groups are objecting to the previously agreed upon plan to increase funding for the IRS to close the gap between money owed for taxes versus money collected, known as the “tax gap.”  On the progressive side, many groups (including NASHTU) are objecting to an attempt to increase privatization of public works projects by including “public-private partnerships, private activity bonds, direct pay bonds, and asset recycling” among the list of pay fors.

More than 25 progressive organizations and unions have sent a letter to Democratic leadership in Congress asking that the P3 funding piece be removed from the framework.  NASHTU is also having conversations with Congressional leadership and staff to remind them that P3s do not bring additional revenue for infrastructure and urged its removal from the framework.

Read more below:

Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework Detail

Washington Post: What’s in the White House, Senate Bipartisan Infrastructure Package  

Politico: GOP: Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal has ‘no chance’ on Wednesday

Indivisible: Progressive Groups Urge Democratic Leadership to Reject Privatization Provisions of Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework

2020 NASHTU Conference – Canceled

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, the 21st Annual NASHTU Conference – scheduled for April 20-22, 2020 in Washington D.C. – has been canceled.

Given the uncertainty about the length of the crisis, and given the limited congressional calendar in an election year, it is simply not possible at this time to reschedule the conference for this year.

We will be refunding any registration fees paid to date.  Please contact the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill at 202/737-1234 to cancel your room reservations.

We look forward to seeing you at the NASHTU conference in the spring of 2021.  If you have any questions, please contact NASHTU at nashtu@nashtu.us.