House Transportation Chair Bill Shuster: Infrastructure Bill Ready ‘Closer to Summer’

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) suggested last week that President Donald Trump’s promised infrastructure bill will be ready “closer to summer.”

“Peter DeFazio and I are working on a bill together. And based on our conversations at the White House yesterday, I think there’s going to be an opportunity,” Shuster said, referring to Rep. DeFazio (D-OR), the committee’s ranking member.

Shuster added, “But there’s challenges on our side. There’s going to be challenges on the other side, so we’ll work through the process.”

Chairman Shuster said last week that he would begin crafting legislation for Trump’s promised infrastructure package. Shuster and DeFazio attended a bipartisan meeting at the White House last week to discuss Trump’s recently unveiled infrastructure package.

The White House unveiled a 55-page infrastructure proposal last week; the proposed package would cost $1.5 trillion and would focus on public-private partnerships and funding from state and local governments.

Shuster argued that any infrastructure bill must feature bipartisan support.

The House Infrastructure Committee chairman suggested during the White House meeting that President Trump remain “open” to increasing the gas tax to 25 cents from 18 cents per gallon. The gas tax has not increased in 25 years.

Shuster said, “It is a user fee. It’s not deficit spending. Today, we’re deficit spending on this stuff.”

Shuster contended that increasing the gas tax will take “presidential leadership,” adding that Speaker Paul Ryan “is not warm and fuzzy” about raising the gas tax.

Shuster announced in January that he will retire at the end of his term to focus on passing a massive infrastructure package.

“I thought it was the best decision for me to focus 100 percent on my final year as the chairman of the Transportation Committee, working with the president and other Democrats and Republicans to pass an infrastructure bill, which is much needed to rebuild America,” Shuster said in July.

Shuster argued that lawmakers have until July to pass the transportation bill before the 2018 congressional midterms heat up.

Shuster argued, “We can get something done in fairly short order I believe.”

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