Highway bill merges into $1.5 trillion Moving Forward Act
June 22, 2020
An already large bill has developed into an enormous one. House Democrats merged the nearly $500 billion highway bill, or INVEST in America Act, into a larger infrastructure package with a $1.5 trillion price tag.
The Moving Forward Act serves as a gigantic investment in the nation’s roads’ bridges, transit, rail, schools, housing, broadband, drinking and wastewater systems, postal service, clean energy sector, and health care infrastructure.
“The Moving Forward Act marks a transformational investment in American infrastructure that will create millions of jobs, take bold action on the climate crisis and address disparities in urban, suburban and rural communities across our country,” reads a news release in support of the bill. “The more than $1.5 trillion proposal rebuilds U.S. communities with infrastructure and innovation that is smarter, safer and made to last.”
On Thursday, June 18, members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved the highway bill during a markup hearing.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association supported the initial version of the INVEST in America Act but withdrew support after the committee on June 17 voted in favor of an amendment that more than doubles the minimum insurance requirement for motor carriers.
Proposed by Rep. Chuy Garcia, D-Ill., the highway bill amendment calls for the minimum insurance requirements for motor carriers to be increased from $750,000 to $2 million. In addition, the amendment directs FMCSA to adjust the total for inflation every five years.
OOIDA said the measure would decrease highway safety and force many small-motor carriers out of business.
“While we firmly supported the bill when it was introduced, the addition of the Garcia amendment has left us no choice but to reverse our position,” OOIDA wrote in an email to members of the House T&I Committee. “We cannot support legislation that will cause many of our members to lose their businesses and livelihoods. An overnight increase in minimum financial responsibility of 167% will undoubtedly devastate many small-trucking businesses. The 265,000 single-truck operators working in America today will be particularly at risk.”
Garcia’s amendment now serves as Section 4408 of the Moving Forward Act.
The Association said only 0.06% of crashes result in damages that exceed the current $750,000 minimum.
OOIDA previously supported the highway bill because it included provisions related to funding for truck parking, new restrictions on tolling, and limits to excessive detention time and predatory lease-to-own schemes.