Representative Malinowski Testifies in Support of Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill
(Washington, DC) Today, Representative Malinowski testified in a House Rules Committee meeting in support of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Read his remarks below or watch a video here.
“Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Cole, members of the committee. I am so, so happy and proud to be here to testify in support of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
And I want to start before getting into the bill by acknowledging Chairman DeFazio for his leadership of the T&I Committee, on which I serve, and for shepherding the passage of the INVEST in America Act through the committee and through the House earlier this summer. There is not a member of Congress in either chamber who knows more about transportation policy. And there's been no stronger advocate for the policies and programs that are needed to rebuild this country while reducing carbon emissions from the transportation sectors than our Chairman.
And like him and other members of our chamber, I personally would have favored a process that allowed more input from the House and a final bipartisan bill that incorporated more of the policy provisions that I and my T&I colleagues on both sides of the aisle spent many months working on as part of the INVEST in America Act. And I'm hopeful that we'll have additional opportunities to remedy some of those shortcomings, whether through the reconciliation process or some other means.
But with all that said, while the bill we're discussing here today doesn't give me or many of us everything that we want – no compromise possibly could – it does, in my considered opinion, give us almost everything that this country desperately needs right now.
And let's talk about what we need. We've been talking about this for many, many years. Frankly, for generations. There was a time – I think we all have the sense as Americans – when we in this country routinely built big and great things. Whether it was tunnels and bridges across our great rivers including the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York, gleaming new highways, extraordinary airports and ports that were once the envy of the world, we took pride in what we built. It was a source of our strength not just at home, but around the world.
For years, we have been calling on our leaders in Washington to get serious about replacing that extraordinary turn of the 20th century infrastructure with even more extraordinary turn of the 21st century infrastructure that recognizes the changes in the economy and in the world including the fact that most of our cars, most of the cars on our highways are going to be electric vehicles in the next decade. And that's what we're going to do with this bill. This is not just ‘Dwight Eisenhower's Interstate Highway System Version 98.2,’ as Chairman DeFazio has often said. And there's not a town in my district that's not going to benefit in some ways.
So, let's talk about what it does. We’re going to do the largest dedicated investment in bridge repair, replacement, and rehabilitation since the construction of that interstate highway system in the 1950s. It'll help us begin to fix the 45,000 bridges in America that are in poor condition.
The bill will make the largest federal investment in public transit in the history of our country, the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak 50 years ago including enough funding for the all-important Gateway Project, the new railway tunnel under the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York. That's not only important to people in my state, not only key to making sure that the parents I represent get home in time for dinner with their kids every evening, it's important to ensure the very survival of the busiest rail corridor in the United States and thus to our economy, not just in my region.
We're going to make the largest ever investment in clean drinking water and wastewater infrastructure; the largest investment in electric vehicle infrastructure; and critically, the funding needed to build a clean modern electrical grid. Anyone who believes as I do, that it is the challenge and opportunity of our age to move America from reliance on fossil fuels to clean energy, should support this bill because it makes an enormous down payment in that direction.
The bill will also ensure that every American has access to high-speed Internet; it invests in weatherization programs to bring down Americans’ energy costs; it funds grants through FEMA to mitigate harm caused by flooding; it helps ensure that more transit stations across the country are accessible to people with disabilities; and I could go on, and on, and on. All of this is desperately needed by, I think, all of our constituents.
And that is why we've done something else, I think, really important with this bill and that's to make it bipartisan. How we did it is almost as important as what it does. So yes, America needs the bridges, we need the roads, we need the ports, we need the broadband, we need the electrical power grid, we need all of the brick and mortar that this bill pays for. But I think America also desperately needs the proof that we're offering in this legislation, that it's still possible to find common ground in Washington, that there's still good reason to have faith in our institutions of government and thus a reason to reject those in our politics who want to tear those institutions down. I would argue the bill does almost as much to fix our democracy as it does to fix our bridges and roads.
So, let's seize the opportunity before us. I urge all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this bipartisan infrastructure bill and the underlying rule.
Thank you so much.”