The Highway Materials Group recently hosted an infrastructure policy roundtable with the Co-Chairs of the Problem Solvers Caucus, Reps. Conor Lamb (D-PA-17) and John Katko (R-NY-24).

At the center of the discussion is a report, “Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure,” published by the Problem Solvers Caucus’ Infrastructure Working Group in 2019. The report has gained attention recently as a growing number of elected officials, along with ACPA and a steadily growing number of infrastructure investment advocates, are urging bipartisan support of the next highway bill, a point expressed by Mike Johnson of NRMCA, who said, “Problem Solvers is the most effective mechanism to get bipartisan movement on an infrastructure bill.”

Rep. Lamb said the working group is working on another “dear colleague” letter to urge support of $18 billion in backstop funding for state DOTs.  “Our group has an important role in getting bipartisan action on this bill,” he said, adding that the group is looking for common issues where members agree.

“We need to look for new options to transition from the gas tax as well,” he continued. “We are also looking at getting IRS more resources to collect underpayment,” adding that the figure could be a few trillion dollars per decade.

Rep. Katko noted that the plan is to use what the infrastructure working group developed last time and build upon that moving forward. It was a very comprehensive effort last time, he said.

He added there is a “strong inclination to start with H.R. 2 and go from there, but we might take a slightly more independent approach to encourage better bipartisan participation” he added.

A topic of considerable discussion lately has been earmarks, and Rep. Lamb, responding to a question, said, “we are not yet entirely clear on how earmarks would play into a highway bill, but that the next few weeks might provide a bit more clarity.”

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