The U.S. House of Representatives approved a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill which would boost spending on roads, bridges, public transportation and rail. The bill was passed nearly along party lines by a 233 to 188 vote.
The “Moving Forward Act” is essentially a grab bag of Democratic ideas for modernizing the country’s aging infrastructure while combating climate change. The bill dedicates nearly $500 billion for surface transportation needs, $130 billion for school infrastructure, $70 billion to improve the electric grid, $100 billion on housing, $100 billion to expand broadband internet and $30 billion on healthcare facilities. Many critics of the bill say that there is little benefit for rural communities.
The centerpiece of the Moving Forward Act is a bill dubbed the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST) Act. This bill includes a recently added amendment that would increase the liability amount a trucking company is required to carry from $750,000 to $2,000,000.
This new amendment was proposed by Illinois Congressman Chuy Garcia and co-sponsored by Pennsylvania Congressman Matt Cartwright which passed by a vote of 37-27 on June 17th. Illinois Congressman Mike Bost later proposed an amendment to strike section 4408 this amendment, effectively cancelling out Rep. Garcia’s amendment, but that measure failed to be added yesterday. Bost, who was a truck driver for over 13 years for his family’s trucking company.
The OOIDA recently withdrew their support although they originally supported the bill, they withdrew their support when the proposed insurance increases would cause members to lost their businesses and livelihoods.
An overnight increase in minimum financial responsibility of 167% will undoubtedly devastate many small trucking businesses,” OOIDA wrote in a letter to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which passed Garcia’s amendment earlier this month. “The 265,000 single-truck operators working in America today will be particularly at risk.”
Republican Senator John Barrasso, who chairs the Environment and Public Works committee, responded by saying the House bill “is a dead end and has no chance of becoming law. It’s a road to nowhere.”