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House Democrats propose $547B boost for highways, transit amid infrastructure talks

House Democrats propose $547B boost for highways, transit amid infrastructure talks
© Greg Nash

A group of House Democrats is proposing $547 billion in additional spending to boost projects to fix bridges and roads and increase funding for rail systems amid ongoing infrastructure talks.

The plan from the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, led by Chairman Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioNewest Boeing 737 Max takes first test flight FAA official defends SpaceX despite unauthorized December launch High-speed rail getting last minute push in Congress MORE (D-Ore.), would authorize $343 billion for roads, bridges and safety — which includes a dedicated $32 billion in funding for bridge projects.

The plan further calls for $4 billion for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

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The proposal also calls for $109 billion for transit and $95 billion for rail — including $32 billion in funding for Amtrak.

DeFazio called the effort a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to move our transportation planning out of the 1950s and toward our clean energy future."

The committee is expected to take up the measure during a markup on June 9.

The Associated Press notes that the proposal is unlikely to garner much GOP support since Republicans have unveiled their own legislation authorizing $400 billion for five years on road, bridge and transit programs.

Republicans on the Infrastructure panel released a statement on Friday slamming the bill. 

"The Majority’s new ‘My Way or the Highway Bill 2.0’ doubles down on the same mandates, restrictive policies, and costly diversions of infrastructure resources that led to last year’s failure to provide long-term investments in America’s roads and bridges," the GOP lawmakers said. 

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“Despite a narrower margin of power and the President’s call for bipartisanship, the Majority never seriously considered incorporating Republican priorities and reaching a compromise. So we are left with another bill that lets lengthy road and bridge project delays continue eating up precious resources, handcuffs our state and local partners, leaves rural communities behind, and prioritizes the Green New Deal to an extent that cripples the real infrastructure improvements communities across the country need," they added. 

The move comes as President BidenJoe BidenBaltimore police chief calls for more 'boots on the ground' to handle crime wave Biden to deliver remarks at Sen. John Warner's funeral Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump MORE continues to try and iron out a deal with Senate Republicans on infrastructure.

Last week, Senate Republicans unveiled a $928 billion counterproposal to the White House, of which $257 billion is additional spending on infrastructure, The Associated Press notes.

The proposal inched closer to the $1 trillion Biden has called for to earn his support, but falls far below the $1.7 trillion that Biden has proposed.

Biden is expected to speak with Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoOvernight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 COVID-19 long-haulers press Congress for paid family leave Senate confirms Radhika Fox to lead EPA's water office MORE (W.Va.), the lead Republican negotiator on infrastructure, on Friday.

— Updated at 10:33 a.m.