Davis participates in the infrastructure panel. Click here to watch the full event.
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) yesterday participated in an infrastructure panel hosted by Politico and the National League of Cities where they discussed the path forward on getting an infrastructure bill through Congress this year.
This panel comes ahead of Davis’ first hearing as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. The hearing on Wednesday will focus on 21st century transportation needs and what’s needed to get an infrastructure bill passed this Congress.
Some highlights from Davis’ remarks on the "The Race to Rebuild: Fixing America's Infrastructure" panel include:
On funding infrastructure investments:
"Why in the would would we just raise the gas tax when at the same time the federal government is telling manufacturers to make cars that burn less of it?
"If we're going to have a debate over the Highway Trust Fund, let's diversify now. You wouldn't invest your 401k at home in one stock, but that's exactly what we do at the federal government.
"We've got to figure out how to bring electric vehicles into the mix when they're not as ubiquitous on the roadway. I traveled in Tesla's prototype semi not too long ago out in Silicon Valley and when Tesla and other manufacturers, like Rivian in my district, start producing more and more larger trucks, that's going to decimate the Highway Trust Fund. Now is the time to bring them into the trust fund.
"I don't think the debate should be over just the gas tax, because if we are asked, as Members of Congress, to just raise the gas tax without debating any other issue, politically it's never going to pass. Let's be realistic about things."
On resiliency in an infrastructure package:
"Resiliency is a major priority of mine. Rep. Cicilline and I are leading on a bill to allow more research and development and testing of newer materials to provide that resilience that we're talking about. In the last highway reauthorization, and other reauthoizations that we've passed in my three terms in Congress, have really reduced the regulatory environment that all of you and Mayor Walsh have to abide by when you're partnering with the federal government.
"It amazed me, because I had a history of working with the Army Corps of Engineers, that the average time it took to get through the paperwork process- design, engineering, land aquisition- was 15 years. In the first WRDA we reauthorized, we reduced that to three so that they can have concurrent studies. Don't underestimate the savings that changing the regulatory environment can mean to actually getting those dollars to go toward those new resilient materials that you can use in building."
On getting an infrastructure bill passed:
"We can come together. The President actually understand infrastructure, probably a lot more than previous presidents.
"The president wants to invest a trillion dollars in infrastructure. The key is, are Democrats in Congress and the House going to let the president get a win? And that's what you all can do for us. You have to make sure everybody gets a win, because that's the result that we need to be able to put more funds and more certainty into infrastructure investments.
"These are the kinds of debates we're going to have, but if we allow them to get caught up in politics, we're going to get nothing."
Joining Davis on the panel were Robyn Boerstling, Vice President of Innovation, Infrastructure and Human Resources Policy, National Association of Manufacturers, Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.), Vice Chair, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Beth Osborne, Director, Transportation for America and Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Boston, Massachusetts.