Transportation industry leaders applaud lawmakers on infrastructure bill

The American Trucking Associations and other industry leaders are celebrating after President Joe Biden signed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law this month.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act “will modernize our ports, our airports, our freight rail to make it easier for companies to get goods to market, reduce supply chain bottlenecks as we’re experiencing now, and lower cost for you and your family,” Biden said at a ceremony on Nov. 15, when he signed the bill. “The law also builds on our resilience so that the next storm, superstorm, drought, wildfire, hurricane, can be dealt with.”

ATA leaders were at the signing ceremony, Eugene Mulero reported for Transport Topics. CEO Chris Spear said the new law is a win for truck drivers, and millions of other hardworking people. The law specifically includes a CDL-A apprenticeship program for drivers under 21 to qualify to drive interstate.

“After countless hearings and meetings on Capitol Hill,” Spear told reporters. “ATA members will finally see the fruits of their labor: A 38% increase in road and bridge funding, and an infusion of highly trained, younger talent into our workforce.”

The infrastructure package includes more than $100 billion for surface transportation networks, $66 billion for freight and passenger rail operations, $65 billion for rural broadband and $46 billion for climate change programs.

“It provides historic funding increases for federal highway, transit, highway safety and rail programs, and directly addresses equity, climate change, system resiliency, bridge investment, and project delivery and environmental review processes,” Jim Tymon, Executive Director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, told Transport Topics, “State and local transportation agencies are eager to get to work on the multimodal projects that will provide real benefits to the people of every community across the country.”

Industry leaders like Ian Jefferies, CEO of the Association of American Railroads, and Ward Nye with The American Road and Transportation Builders Association applauded lawmakers who built the massive, bipartisan package.

“Prioritizing investments and common-sense policy solutions were the result of thoughtful, bipartisan negotiations and the tireless work of many,” Jefferies said. “As we collectively face today’s challenges and build tomorrow’s opportunities, this package will help pave the way for a more modern, safer and resilient infrastructure network.”