House T&I Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR-04) is moving ahead with his plans for an ambitious surface transportation bill on the heels of last week’s announcement the Biden administration is advancing its own big infrastructure proposal, according to an article in POLITICO.

Chairman Defazio said his focus is on pressing forward with his Moving America Forward Act, a $500 billion surface transportation reauthorization which the House passed last year.

“We have to do a reauthorization by October 1,” he said in response to a question about how his bill will interplay with President Joe Biden’s proposal, which the administration has said is intended to remain separate. “My objective is to get an authorizing bill out of my committee, get it through the House as soon as possible.”

DeFazio said that he’s planning to move the legislation out of committee by the third week of May.

His desire to pass a large surface bill could set up a clash with the Biden administration, which is planning to propose a reauthorization that is flat with 2015 levels in its upcoming budget proposal.

The same funding issues that have plagued past surface transportation efforts remain in play, the article said. DeFazio has previously proposed indexing the federal gas tax, bonding, and a barrel tax, but none of those solutions has gained traction, the article said. DeFazio said that he’s aiming to include a national vehicle miles traveled pilot in the bill, but that “we’re not ready” to make the jump to VMT as a full-scale solution.

File photo: Rep. Peter Defazio (US House website).


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