The Challenge: Americans need affordable, dependable transportation options to maintain their way of life. The transportation sector is also the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, accounting for 29 percent of global emissions (using 2019 data). Globally, transportation accounts for about 20 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions.
The Opportunity Removing government-imposed barriers to infrastructure projects will stretch taxpayer dollars further to build more roads and bridges. Regulatory reform will also inject more private capital into projects and deliver cleaner, more resilient infrastructure. Moreover, reducing congestion provides many economic and environmental benefits including savings on fuel, reduced pollution, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and less traffic noise. Congress and the administration should eliminate energy subsidies, including preferential treatment for fossil fuels. A next-best strategy should be to make existing subsidies more economically and environmentally efficient while not adding more to the federal debt.
The Solutions: To improve America’s transportation and infrastructure needs, Congress and the administration should:
- Modernize the National Environmental Policy Act.
- Repeal Davis-Bacon Act requirements.
- End “Buy America” Restrictions.
- Improve Opportunities for Public Private Partnerships.
- Repeal the Foreign Dredge Act and the Jones Act.
- Deploy smart technologies and deploy congestion pricing where applicable.
- Eliminate targeted tax credits or replace them with a technology-neutral approach that improves efficiency and reduces abatement cost per dollar spent.
- Tackle air pollution.
- The largest sources of transportation emissions are light-duty vehicles (58%), medium- and heavy-duty trucks (24%), and aircraft (10%).
- 90 percent of America’s transportation needs are met through petroleum (gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel).
- Real dollar, per mile construction costs tripled from the 1960s to the 1990s.
- Davis-Bacon requirements “inflate the cost of federal construction by nearly 10 percent on average.”
- With just an inch of additional depth, a cargo ship could transport millions of dollars worth of cargo per trip. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration equates that additional inch of depth to “50 more tractors, 5,000 televisions, 30,000 laptops, or 770,000 bushels of wheat.”
Legislation to follow:
|Legislation||Bill Number(s)||House Sponsor||Senate Sponsor||House Cosponsor(s)||Senate Cosponsor(s)|
|Allied Partnership and Port Modernization Act||S.3366||Lee (R-UT)|
|BUILDER Act||H.R.2515||Graves (R-LA-6)||McCarthy (R-CA-23), Scalise (R-LA-1), Westerman (R-AR-4), and more|
|Davis-Bacon Repeal Act||S.805 and H.R.2218||Good (R-VA-5)||Lee (R-UT)||Scott (R-SC), Coryn (R-TX), Blackburn (R-TN), and more|
|DEEP Act||S.3355||Lee (R-UT)|
|Incentivizing the Expansion of U.S. Ports Act||S.3365||Lee (R-UT)|
|Port Modernization and Supply Chain Protection Act||S.3367||Lee (R-UT)|
|The Open America’s Waters Act||S.1646 and H.R.3205||McClintock (R-CA-4)||Lee (R-UT)|
|UNSHACKLE Act||S.717 and H.R.3814||Cheney (R-WY- At Large)||Lee (R-UT)||Cramer (R-ND), Cruz (R-TX)|
Read the full chapter here.