House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) released a draft infrastructure bill in an effort to reinvigorate stalled momentum on the issue.
The legislation contains a plethora of proposals for addressing the nation's "crumbling infrastructure" — a familiar refrain on the Hill. One proposal involves establishing a pilot program for a "per-mile" user fee — an alternative to raising the federal gasoline tax. Oregon started a voluntary program in 2015 to charge a 1.7-cent-per-mile tax for using public roads.
Another proposal involves creating a 15-member Highway Trust Fund Commission. Some of its members would be appointed by lawmakers, while others would be selected by the secretary of Transportation. The commission would be tasked with conducting a study that "identifies the current and future needs of the Nation's surface transportation system," among other things.
The draft legislation would also codify President Trump's Aug. 15, 2017, executive order on streamlining the permitting process for large infrastructure projects. It would seek to limit the timetable for National Environmental Policy Act reviews to two years.