03-07-23 | News

Congressional Leaders Discuss Infrastructure Funding and Project Focus

Leaders Discuss Transportation at AASHTO 2023 Washington Briefing
by Staff

Congressional leaders discussed transportation priorities and the implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) at the AASHTO 2023 Washington Briefing. Providing states with flexibility to use IIJA funding and reforming the permitting process were emphasized. States were recognized as essential stakeholders in building better transportation solutions.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) released a report from the AASHTO 2023 Washington Briefing in which Congressional leaders outlined their transportation priorities for 2023. The briefing focused on the implementation of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which was enacted in November 2021.

The IIJA remains a critical focus for Congress, according to transportation committee leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives. During the AASHTO 2023 Washington Briefing, the leaders emphasized that providing states with the flexibility to use IIJA funding to address their specific mobility needs is a priority.


Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, emphasized the importance of providing states with the flexibility to make decisions within the IIJA framework, stating, "We know the needs and desires of governors and state legislatures are often different from federal government - that's why we need to give you that flexibility, as long as you stay within the guardrails of the IIJA."

Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), chairman of the EPW committee, stressed the importance of trade in transportation and noted that, "As good as we like to think our roads are, we can do better." Representative Rick Larsen (D-WA), ranking member of the House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure committee, highlighted the importance of frequent updates from states on their IIJA implementation efforts. Representative Rick Crawford (R-AR), chair of the House T&I Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, advocated for the "One Federal Decision" policy to help speed up infrastructure projects.

"We need to give states much more flexibility. Not every state has every tool in the [transportation] toolbox to work with. They need them in order to drive investment in areas they think are important," Rep. Crawford said. "It is really important to recognize any opportunities to make common sense [regulatory] changes that would streamline projects for everyone."

The leaders also discussed the importance of reforming the permitting process for infrastructure projects, particularly for energy and electric grid projects. As Rep. Larsen noted, the IIJA is not a "set it and forget it" law, and it is critical for states to update their congressional delegations on progress made through IIJA implementation efforts. The leaders agreed that states are essential stakeholders in IIJA implementation and building better transportation solutions for the future.


Sign up for
LAWeekly newsletter. Get exclusive content today.