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Controversial INVEST in America Act passes House, moves to Senate


On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve a $715 billion infrastructure bill known as the INVEST in America Act. The bill passed narrowly along party lines with a vote of 221-201 and only two Republicans in favor.

The bill authorizes $343 billion for roads, bridges and safety measures, $109 billion for transit, $95 billion for passenger and freight rail, $117 billion for drinking water infrastructure resources and roughly $51 billion for wastewater infrastructure. It also includes several provisions that are particularly controversial in the highway transportation industry and were hotly contested by several lobbying groups.

Included among the contentious provisions is one that would raise the minimum insurance limit for general commodity motor carriers from $750,000–the existing minimum that has been in place since 1980–to $2 million with occasional adjustments for inflation. The bill also would require certain newly-manufactured heavy vehicles be equipped with automatic emergency braking systems.


Other controversial provisions would authorize the FMCSA to begin collecting ELD data for the purpose of researching a potential national vehicle miles traveled tax, and would direct FMCSA to initiate sleep apnea screening for commercial drivers.

The House’s vote comes on the heels of a bipartisan $579 billion infrastructure deal reached last week by a group of senators and endorsed by President Biden.

Congressman Peter DeFazio, the chair of the House Transportation Committee and author of the bill, hasn't said yet whether the House and Senate will go into conference to reconcile the differences between the bipartisan deal and the House bill. On Wednesday, he commented, “The Senate bipartisan deal is an outline, and it has good numbers," adding that the Senate proposal was "within shouting distance" of his bill. "I believe we could work out the spending levels in the bill, but there is no policy attached to their proposal."


Expect to see Senate action on the bill by October.



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