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Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher Secures Critical Bipartisan Amendments in INVEST in America Act; Bill Passes Committee and Heads to Floor for Final Vote

Washington, June 19, 2020 | Rocio Cruz

(Houston, TX) – Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07) secured several bipartisan amendments in the INVEST in America Act, H.R. 7095, to help improve infrastructure resiliency, expand federal support for natural gas and propane as alternative fuels, and ensure high-speed rail projects, like the Texas high-speed train project, can secure the funding they need.

The INVEST (Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportationin America Actauthorizes nearly $500 billion over five years to address some of the country’s most urgent infrastructure needs.  The bill passed the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee earlier today and is expected to pass the House of Representatives in coming weeks. 

“In Houston, we know the positive impact that improving existing infrastructure, building in a more resilient way, and upgrading our transit systems will have on our communities,” said Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher, a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  “As our T&I Committee finalized the INVEST in America Act, I was glad to work across the aisle to ensure the bill reflected the priorities of our region.” 

Below are Congresswoman Fletcher’s amendments that were included as a part of the INVEST in America Act:

  • An amendment to ensure cost-efficient and low-carbon natural gas and propane are eligible to receive federal grants under the Alternative Fuel Corridors Grant Program.  The Alternative Fuel Corridors Grant Program is a national program to incentivize the use of alternative vehicle fuels to reduce carbon emission.  Fletcher’s amendment ensures an all-of-the-above approach to reducing carbon emissions, and passed with bipartisan support. 
    • Upon introduction of this amendment, Congresswoman Fletcher testified: “In my district in Houston, we see and understand the importance of deploying alternative-fueled vehicles and lead on variety of fronts for innovation for solutions on deploying new technologies like these.”
  • An amendment to ensure regions prone to strong storms can be eligible for federal funding to build underground utilities through the National Highway Performance Program.  Undergrounding utilities is an important resiliency measure for storm-prone regions. 
  • An amendment to strengthen and maintain bridge safety by creating federal corrosion planning and inspection protocols. 

Additionally, Congresswoman Fletcher, along with Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30) and Congressman Colin Allred (TX-32), pushed for an amendment to allow high-speed rail projects, like the Texas high-speed train project, to more easily secure the funding they need. Currently, these projects must pay a risk premium entirely up front, but this amendment creates a new credit risk financing mechanism allowing for these projects to be paid off over the term of the loan. 

In addition to these amendments, the INVEST in America Act also contains many top funding priorities, including: 

  • A new $6.25 billion program to fund resilience and flood response needs;
  • Approximately $28 billion in funding for bridge repair and restoration; and
  • $83.1 billion to ensure states and local governments can administer programs, advance projects, and preserve jobs in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis.

A detailed fact sheet on the INVEST in America Act can be found here.