Incoming committee chairman 'hopeful' House will pass infrastructure bill early next year

The incoming chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said this week he’s hopeful that the House will pass an infrastructure package early next year.

Rep. Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioWhat we need to do to fix infrastructure in the US 737 crisis tests Boeing's clout in Washington Senate panel to hold hearing on airline safety after Boeing crashes MORE (D-Ore.) said during an interview that aired Wednesday on Hill.TV that a plan to overhaul the nation’s infrastructure is at the top of the list for House Democrats, who will be in the majority starting in January.

“I’m hopeful that we can get a package together in the first months of this Congress,” DeFazio told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball, referring to the 116th Congress. “Hopefully get it done in the first sixth months because then you’re really getting into…the presidential election. So if we can move a good package out of the House, expeditiously, I think the Senate is going to be hard-pressed not to follow on.”

DeFazio said that while Trump has long pushed for an infrastructure measure, any real progress has been hindered by members of his own administration — namely former policy adviser D.J. Gribbin, who departed the administration in April.

Gribbin led the Trump administration's push for an infrastructure proposal that was released in February and later stalled.

“Unfortunately, his choice of staff stymied what I think he really wants to do,” DeFazio said.

He said an infrastructure overhaul that he's envisioning would improve transit options and help the U.S. control carbon emissions, citing the growing concerns around climate change.

“We need to make the transportation system greener, resilient and we have to fix what we have and built out the new options,” he said.

–Tess Bonn