Incoming House transportation cmte. chief urging White House to back more funding for U.S. roads, bridges

Updated Jan 12, 2019

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The incoming head of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee wants the White House to back significant additional federal funds to rebuild U.S. roads, bridges and airports – given that President Donald Trump suggested on January 2 that a deal could be had, Reuters reports.

Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio, who is to head the House of Representatives committee overseeing transportation once Democrats take control, had previously proposed $500 billion in funding by issuing 30-year bonds and using revenue from indexing fuel taxes to rise with inflation, the Reuters report says.

Rep. Peter DeFazioRep. Peter DeFazio

He told reporters on Wednesday he would be seeking significant funding for the nation’s roads and bridges, reports say.

“There has to be real money, real investment,” DeFazio told reporters. “We’re not going to do pretend stuff like asset recycling. We’re not going to do massive privatization.”

In December, the heated debate over immigration that spurred President Donald Trump to partially shutdown the federal government also threatened progress on an infrastructure funding package, according to a tweet by the president and published reports.

If Democrats continue to oppose his efforts for a wall along the southern border with Mexico, Trump had earlier suggested an unwillingness to consider a deal on infrastructure policy in the near future, reports the publication Transport Topics.

Concerns over a long-awaited infrastructure funding package heightened on Dec. 20, when the President tweeted:

Last February, the White House had released a 55-page proposal for President Trump’s infrastructure overhaul.

It was pitched as framework for lawmakers to build a $1.5 trillion infrastructure package that would focus on funding from state and local governments and public-private partnerships.

Last May, a majority of respondents polled said President Donald Trump is not paying enough attention to the nation’s infrastructure.

“Most Americans say that Donald Trump and the federal government in general are not making the nation’s transportation infrastructure enough of a priority,” according to Monmouth University Polling Institute.