BLAINE’S BULLETIN

Updating America’s Infrastructure

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In 2015, the then Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Bill Shuster (R-PA) led negotiations with members of both parties in the House, Senate and White House on a 5-year, $300 billion infrastructure package. That bill, called the FAST Act, received overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers and was signed into law by President Obama that December. While there is plenty to disagree about in Washington, D.C., infrastructure has long been an area where bipartisan consensus can be found. Republicans and Democrats alike agree it is essential to provide this country with roads, bridges, waterways, ports, and airways that are safe and fully operational. Americans’ livelihoods depend on the ability to go from point “A” to “B” safely, and historically Congress has been able to work together to draft effective, bipartisan legislation to ensure this is possible. Until now.

We are only three months into a new Administration and Democrats have made their strategy for policy making very clear: giant, radical government spending bills disguised as legislation to fix major problems in our country. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that only 9% of the $2 trillion “COVID relief bill” was actually for the COVID response. President Biden is following that up with a nearly $3 trillion “infrastructure” bill with less than 6% going to our nation’s roads and bridges.

One reason infrastructure bills have always been so strongly supported by the American people is the number of jobs they traditionally generate. Billions of dollars in investment normally leads to millions of jobs for American workers. However, that only happens when we invest in the safe and efficient movement of people and goods. The Biden Administration’s plan primarily focuses on climate policies from the Green New Deal paid for by tax increases. These tax increases would crush many of the small businesses that have worked so hard to get back on their feet and could potentially force them to close their doors for good. In fact, according to the National Association of Manufacturers, over one million jobs will actually be lost with this plan. That’s right. Nearly $3 trillion to kill one million American jobs.

While I do not support President Biden’s overreaching plan that is an infrastructure bill in name only, I am a strong supporter of improving Missouri and our nation’s infrastructure. All it takes is one trip down I-70 to see that upgrades are clearly needed on our highways. Our state is certainly not alone in this, which is why several of my colleagues and I have introduced an infrastructure bill that will do what it says it will – improve American infrastructure.

The Building U.S. Infrastructure through Limited Delays and Efficient Reviews (BUILDER) Act – which is about infrastructure and only infrastructure – seeks to cut burdensome red tape to modernize the process for infrastructure project reviews, cut costs, and allow America’s infrastructure to be updated in a timely and efficient way. Specifically, the bill streamlines the NEPA permitting process that can take decades to put practical review time lines for project completions in place. Often times, idealistic government workers and outside groups use the NEPA process and lawsuits to run up the cost of projects and bleed cities and states of badly needed infrastructure funds. By streamlining the process and forcing government agencies to make determinations in a timely manner, taxpayer dollars will go to repairing roads, building bridges, and maintaining our waterways. That’s what most of think of when we hear “infrastructure” and that’s what Americans expect their tax dollars to produce.

CONTACT US: As always, for those of you with Internet access, I encourage you to visit my official website. For those without access to the Internet, I encourage you to call my offices in Jefferson City (573-635-7232) Washington, Mo. (636-239-2276), or Wentzville (636-327-7055) with your questions and concerns. If you want even greater access to what I am working on, please visit my YouTube site, Facebook page, and keep up-to-date with Twitter and Instagram.

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