Just the Facts
Six Facts On The Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan Put Forth By The Problem Solvers Caucus
By Emma Petasis
May 30, 2019 | Blog
This week, the Problem Solvers Caucus released a report entitled “Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure” filled with bipartisan policy recommendations endorsed by the Caucus.
Here is a summary of the report’s infrastructure policy and recommendations
1. Surface Transportation
America’s network of surface transportation infrastructure has been put on the back burner for years, and Congress is failing to update and maintain roads and highways. The Problem Solvers solutions are to provide sustainable, long-term funding for the Highway Trust Fund to prevent chronic fiscal shortfalls. This would be done by an adjustment to taxes on petroleum and its products, as well as modernizing the federal gas user fee, which has not been increased since 1993. The report additionally suggests modest registration fees on electric and hybrid vehicles since they contribute nothing to the fund, and incentives for mileage-based fees on automated vehicles. Lastly, the report suggests increased funding that is provided through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act and fixing the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program through incentives.
2. Ports and Inland Waterways
The United States is losing business to Canada and Mexico through the failure to accommodate Post-Panamax ships (ships that travel through the Panama Canal.) In order to accommodate goods this way, the Problem Solvers solutions would dedicate 100% of revenue raised for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to support port and harbor activities, as opposed to only part of the collected amount. Additionally, they would amend the Infrastructure for the Rebuilding America Grant program to enable the selection of multimodal (several different) projects, as opposed to funding only highways and bridges.
3. Water and Wastewater Infrastructure
The Problem Solvers want to strengthen and increase access to the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds and increase funding by up to $45 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act. Additionally, they want to examine ways to increase work force development in the water infrastructure sector and create a federal agency to directly support technology development.
To better address the cyber and physical security threats to our energy infrastructure, the Problem Solvers want to support research and development programs within the Department of Energy (DOE) and maintain funding for the DOE’s modernization efforts. As for cyber security, the Problem Solvers solutions include incentivizing private sector participation to strengthen cyber security and increased usage of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity Advisors Program to assess cyber vulnerabilities. Lastly, they support wider adoption of Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems technologies to protect our physical security from insider threats.
5. Broadband and Communications Networks
High speed internet access is not available for too many communities across America, The Problem Solvers want to reform how contributions are made by the Federal Communications Commission to make sure even difficult-to-reach consumers are helped. Additionally, they would incentivize policies that undergoconstruction only once, so when highway projects are underway, they can add fiber conduits to install broadband infrastructure later.
With growing demand, Congress needs to provide more support for America’s airports and air traffic control systems. The Problem Solvers solutions include debating a bipartisan and long-term reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration.