While the surface transportation reauthorization has been years in development in back offices around Washington, last week’s official unveiling of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s draft legislation has shifted proceedings into overdrive, with House leadership targeting next week for a markup and early July for a final floor vote.
Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) has scheduled a markup of the bill in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for June 17, with House Democratic leadership setting aside time for debate and a vote between June 30 and July 2.
“It's going to be probably a three-day bill,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) according to reports from The Hill.
While there are many questions about the extent to which House Democrats will be able to secure bipartisan support, the bill is expected to pass the House. From there, it will face a tougher audience in the GOP-controlled Senate. The Senate Commerce Committee is expected to release its own rail bill later this summer, though there is no official timeline.
Rail Passengers has launched a campaign to support the rail title in the INVEST in America Act, which would invest more than $58 billion in America’s rail network over the next five years. The bill also includes several key Amtrak reforms: enshrining Amtrak’s duty to run a National Network, improvements to Amtrak food and beverage service, providing protections for on-time service for passengers, and more!