Last week, U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., the dean of the Florida delegation, brought out the “Build America Act” which would add $10 billion annually to federal infrastructure grant programs.

Under Hastings’ proposal, the U.S. Transportation secretary would control the funds “to carry out a national infrastructure investment program for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure.” The bill would change the Capital Investment Grant Program (CIG), also known as New Starts/Small Starts, and the BUILD Grant Program, previously Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Grant Program (TIGER Grants), out of the appropriations process to give them permanently expanded funding.

“I am pleased to begin the 117th Congress by introducing the Build America Act of 2021,” Hastings said on Friday. “This bill will significantly expand funding for two merit-based infrastructure grant programs, paving the way for billions of dollars of investments nationwide every year. These programs have been utilized by communities across the country for years, allowing them to more easily address their most pressing infrastructure needs. My bill gives these programs the resources they need to ensure every state can get the assistance they need to invest in roads, bridges, tunnels, ports, and public transportation.

“Each program requires matching funds from those seeking assistance, making them smart and effective avenues for leveraging federal funding to make a real impact across the country. I look forward to working with my colleagues to safeguard these avenues for funding so that we can start making the investments in infrastructure our country so desperately needs,” Hastings’ added.

U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-Ct., is co-sponsoring the proposal which was sent to the U.S. House Ways and Means and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committees last week. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.


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