Highways and Transit Subcommittee Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-IL), joined by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) and other Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Republicans, asked the Biden administration to rescind guidance intended to delay or deter critical road and highway expansion projects in clear defiance of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
In a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the Members took issue with guidance issued by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on December 16, 2021, which they called “a blatant misapplication of the IIJA.”
In sending the letter, Rep. Rodney Davis said, “The Biden Administration has proven they would rather push a far-left agenda instead of following the letter of the law. On this and other issues facing the American people, the Administration has shown they can’t be trusted. That’s partly why Republicans in the House are so critical and skeptical of the Administration. T&I Republicans will continue to make sure that the Biden Administration doesn’t act as a roadblock to our state DOT partners. We have an important oversight role to fulfill because the majority refuses to hold President Biden accountable.”
This FHWA guidance, in direct contradiction of the IIJA, discriminates against such road and highway projects in favor of projects more in line with the administration’s policies on climate change, transportation equity, and non-motorized transportation. Davis and the other Members note that the administration’s policy preferences were considered and rejected during the law’s development.
They also highlight the IIJA’s One Federal Decision (OFD) provisions, which are intended to significantly streamline the project environmental review process, including the process to “site, construct or reconstruct” projects such as highway expansions. These OFD reforms in the law, which Davis and T&I Republicans have supported for years, are directly contradicted by FHWA’s guidance to delay or deny road and highway expansion projects.
“The purpose of FHWA’s guidance appears not to inform the public or clarify the statute, but to create altogether new standards and polices for federal funding that conflicts with the language and clear Congressional intent of the IIJA. FHWA’s improper attempt to preempt law… wrongly seeks to ban what most areas need most – more capacity,” according to the Members’ letter. “We respectfully ask that the December 16, 2021, FHWA guidance memorandum be rescinded in its entirety.”