National Commentary

Congressman Beyer’s News Commentary: Rebuilding Our Infrastructure

beyer-onlinemugRebuilding infrastructure is a major challenge for our country. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that America’s roads, bridges, and other infrastructure will require over $4 trillion in investments over the next seven years. Transportation funding is a particularly salient need for Northern Virginia, given the large number of commuters who use roadways and mass transit every day.

Earlier this year, the Trump Administration released its infrastructure proposal. Unfortunately, their plan does not so much fix our infrastructure as try to sell it off.

The Trump infrastructure proposal suggested “divesting” from key local infrastructure, including both of Northern Virginia’s airports and the GW Parkway. This is outrageous. He did not consult any state or local leaders about any of this, but if he had we would have told him that our community ardently opposes anything of the kind.

This infrastructure proposal would spend $200 billion on an unspecified set of projects, with hopes that over $1 trillion would appear to provide the vast majority of the funding. Such an outcome is unlikely. It also was unveiled on the same day as the President’s 2019 budget, which reduces funding for the Department of Transportation by 19 percent, eliminates TIGER grants, and cuts Amtrak funding in half.

The Trump Administration also proposed to raise money by increasing fossil fuel production on public lands, and would waive environmental safeguards in the process of approving pipelines, without addressing climate change or making investments in renewable energy.

This Administration needs to adopt more serious policies to address these issues. We should work in a bipartisan way to put forth a truly transformational plan to modernize all aspects of our infrastructure system. I have endorsed a broad proposal – House Continuing Resolution 63 – which lays out a series of measures to put our national infrastructure back on track.

I will continue working to ensure that local transportation issues are addressed. In particular, I will pay careful attention to the progress on renovating Arlington Memorial Bridge, a project due to begin later this year after my colleagues and I helped secure long-needed funding. I will also work to make sure that WMATA gets all of the federal funding it needs to address problems promptly, so that they do not require further service lapses, and to provide a safe Metro system.

There is a lot of work to do to bring our roads, bridges, transit, airports, ports, waterways, rail, transit, schools, and the Internet into the 21st century. I aim to be part of the solution, and to collaborate with members of both parties to help our country rise to this challenge.