The House Republican conference on Nov. 30 unanimously voted to elect Rep. Sam Graves to be ranking member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the 116th Congress. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) will serve as Chairman.
"Infrastructure seems to be at the forefront of everyone's to-do-list, and I believe my experience as a professional pilot and legislator coupled with my policy depth and conservative values will serve the conference well as we begin discussions on an infrastructure bill," Rep. Graves said. "Addressing our crumbling infrastructure has long been a bipartisan issue, and I am intent on working with all my colleagues, the Senate, and President Trump to craft an infrastructure proposal that includes finding a long-term funding solution for the Highway Trust Fund."
Retiring T&I Committee Chairman Bill Shuster said in a statement that "no one has as much knowledge and passion for the issues before the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as Sam." Rep. Shuster said that Graves "will work hard to promote sound transportation policy and uphold conservative principles."
Incoming Committee Chairman DeFazo has said that a major infrastructure package funded by real dollars would be his first order of business in the 116th Congress as current surface transportation law is set to expire in 2020.
Rep. DeFazio has said the committee will begin holding hearings in early January.
The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee on Nov. 28 convened a hearing to discuss surface transportation issues. The hearing largely focused on funding the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), with witnesses telling lawmakers that increasing the federal fuel tax would be the most efficient way to shore up the HTF in the short-term.
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