House Democrats Would Increase Transit Spending, Still Spend More on Highways

House Democrats proposed the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act as a five-year plan for transportation spending at the federal level. The bill is unlikely to make it any further than the House.

1 minute read

June 4, 2020, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Capitol Hill

Julie Clopper / Shutterstock

Yonah Freemark details the federal transportation bill proposed this week by House Democrats that would spend $494 billion over five years. 

The Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act would spend $319 billion highway projects, much more than the $105 million it would spend on transit. According to Freemark, that disparity casts doubt on the bill's bonafides as a climate change bill, as claimed by House Democrats. 

The highway spending would, at least, represent a shift to the "fix it first" model preferred by many transportation planning and good government advocates, according to Freemark. The bill would also provide $49 billion in "local control" funding—"i.e., taking money away from roads-obsessed state DOTs, which would be a good thing."

After providing analysis of the increased grant funding the bill would make available for transit programs, Freemark's assessment is that the bill is an improvement over the current state of federal spending on transportation. The bill could pass the House, according to Freemark, but is unlikely to pass the Senate in its current form.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020 in Yonah Freemark via Twitter

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