6:00: Morning News

Major highway legislation sponsored by Capito advances through committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A bill that is being called the largest highway legislation in history and sponsored by U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) is past the committee stage.

America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019, bipartisan legislation, was voted 21-to-0 by the Environment and Public Works Committee to advance on Tuesday.

U.S. Sen. Shelly Moore Capito, R-W.Va.

The bill is a $287 billion five year surface transportation reauthorization that will repair and maintain critical transportation infrastructure. This includes $259 billion to be distributed to states by formula.

READ: Summary of America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019

Capito said in a press call Tuesday that West Virginia would receive $533 million in the first year, an increase over the past several years.

The legislation codifies key tenets of the “One Federal Decision” policy to streamline project delivery and federal approvals.

“We did work to get rid of some of the obstacles that states are facing, mostly in the permitting of projects that to start or finalize the projects,” Capito said Tuesday.

“We incorporated the administration’s focus of one federal decision which will centralize and streamline the process. It will also make the process go faster.”

Capito said during the call she pushed for a bridge investment program as part of the bill. A news release said the program will improve the resiliency of roads and bridges to natural disasters and extreme weather events.

“We know in West Virginia about the number of structurally deficient bridges that we have,” she said. “This will infuse six billion dollars in additional funding to help fix bridges in poor condition.”

Capito added she believes this bill jives well with Gov. Jim Justice’s Roads to Prosperity program, stating there is an 80-20 match with state dollars in the first appropriations.

“With the Governor’s Roads to Prosperity program he is going to have sufficient dollars to match,” she said. “This will help him maximize the ability to move the Roads to Prosperity program in a larger way.”

She expects the legislation to have floor time in the Senate in the Fall.

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