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Investing in A New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CRAWFORD. Mr. Speaker, a well-crafted infrastructure bill could put millions of Americans back to work and reinvigorate the American economy. Unfortunately, today, we are not here to debate a well-crafted infrastructure bill.

This is a radical departure from MAP-21 and the FAST Act, both in terms of content and process. This bill ignores the economic realities of COVID-19, embraces environmental radicalism, and weaves Green New Deal mandates throughout its core programs. In fact, approximately 40 percent of this bill's allocation will be spent on Green New Deal programs.

When the GOP controlled the majority, we consulted the minority on both MAP-21 and the FAST Act. We, in this effort, were ignored in the name of climate, despite the Senate having a bipartisan climate title in their bill.

To quantify how starkly partisan this bill is, the FAST Act had 115 amendments; this bill, 388. While we know this bill stands no chance of being enacted, the rail title will be disastrous if it was.

Despite spending $60 billion over 5 years on rail--none of which is paid for, by the way--no one in the rail industry supports any provisions in this rail title. At a time when demand for all modes of public transportation is in doubt, this bill increases funding to Amtrak. It spends 13 times what FAST Act allocated to the Northeast Corridor. It spends 160 times what FAST Act allocated to Amtrak's national network. This bill guts programs to help our regional and short-line railways to give more money to--you guessed it--Amtrak.

Mr. Speaker, our intermodal freight system saved this country from the worst of COVID-19, and this bill aims to drive that system to the ground in the name of environmental extremism.

This is the first surface reauthorization I will be voting against, and that is a sad decision I have to make with a heavy heart.

I am glad that some of my bipartisan Buy American amendments made it into this bill in markup, and that offers a glimpse of what could have been if the majority had come to us and we had worked together to create a serious bill.

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