“This year, we have a lot of money, and we have to get the roads right.
We have to fix bridges, and it’s a big part of that,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.).
“The highway bill is the most important part of the bill.
We can fix bridges in three years.
We’re spending billions on it.”
Cole said he’s pushing for a transportation bill that would boost spending on roads, bridges and tunnels by $1.5 billion.
“I would like to see $1 trillion,” he said.
Cole and others in Congress have been trying to get a transportation package through Congress since the last election, but it has not been included in the budget reconciliation process.
Cole told reporters in February that he thinks Congress can pass a bill in the next year.
“The next year, maybe we can pass the highway bill,” he added.
“We’re still working on that.”
But Cole is optimistic about getting the money in place.
“This is something that we can do.
It’s something we’re working on, and the infrastructure needs to be fixed,” he told reporters.
“That’s the most urgent issue that we need to address, and that’s something that Congress can take care of.”
A Transportation Infrastructure Task Force was established in the fall of 2017 to develop a transportation infrastructure bill, and in October the group presented a report to the House Transportation Committee.
That report recommended that Congress establish a Transportation Infrastructure Investment Board to provide financial assistance to states for road and bridge projects.
The report said that the task force’s recommendations include $1,600 per person per month for every person, as well as $1 million for every mile of new roadway.
A transportation bill is expected to be passed in January.
“It’s very clear that the transportation bill needs to go to the president,” Cole said of his priorities for a $1-trillion infrastructure bill.
“When the president gets around to it, I’ll be pushing for it, and hopefully we can get it done.”
(Top photo: The Capitol dome, in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci))