Rep. Johnson’s Transportation Priorities Included in T&I Committee INVEST in America Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After 24-hours debating and marking up legislation, the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee (T&I) passed the surface transportation reauthorization bill late Thursday night – the INVEST in America Act – Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act out of committee.
Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-04) ensured his policy priorities were included in the $494 billion legislation.
“The INVEST in America Act is sweeping win for the American people,” Rep. Johnson said. “This legislation will expand public transit, increase access to well-paying jobs, create connectivity in our communities, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve our nation’s roads and highways. This bill makes transformative investments in infrastructure and the environment, and I am so proud to support this legislation.”
All of the measures offered or supported by Rep. Johnson made it into the bill. His amendment on infrastructure reuse allows projects, like the Atlanta Beltline, to compete in the Community Climate Innovation Grant program, the new discretionary program in the INVEST in America Act for local communities to fund projects that help reduce greenhouse gases and increase access to public space.
“Infrastructure reuse projects across the country are generating over $40 billion in economic development by leveraging and contributing millions of dollars to communities through increased tax revenue, tourism, and job creation,” he said.
Rep. Johnson co-led an amendment with Rep. Jesús G. “Chuy” García (IL-04) that would raise the minimum insurance requirements for motor carriers and adjust those minimums for inflation, which hasn’t been addressed since these insurance minimums were created in 1980.
“Raising minimum trucking insurance requirements will deliver justice to the countless individuals and families that have been burdened by catastrophic injuries and crippling medical debt from crashes with motor carriers or large trucks,” Johnson said. “As the cost of medical care continues to rise, it is only appropriate that these minimum insurance requirements do the same.”
As sponsor of H.R. 3773, the Safe Roads Act, which mandates automatic emergency braking (AEB) on all new commercial motor vehicles, Rep. Johnson was pleased to see that T&I Chairman Peter DeFazio (OR-04) included an AEB mandate in the original text of the INVEST in America Act.
“According to the National Safety Council, a total of 4,951 people died in large-truck crashes in 2018,” said Johnson. “That’s over 500 more than the 4,237 lives lost in 2017. We cannot wait any longer to widely deploy AEB technology on commercial motor vehicles. In fact, AEB technology has already been deployed on some of the most popular truck models. We know that AEB can reduce truck crashes, prevent injuries, and save lives. America’s roads and highways should be safe for all drivers. We must take full advantage of technologies that are available and proven to anticipate and prevent crashes.”
The INVEST in America Act now goes the full House for a vote.