GOP selects T&I leader

The House Republican Conference has selected its ranking member to lead the Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee as Senate committee urges bipartisan infra support.

Representative Sam Graves has received unanimous support to succeed current T&I committee Chairman Bill Shuster as ranking member.

Graves represents North Missouri and has served on the committee throughout his 18 years in Congress. He led several of the T&I Committee’s subcommittees, most recently as Highways and Transit Subcommittee chairman. He is also a professional pilot.  

“I am honored to be chosen by my colleagues to lead this important committee at such a critical time for our nation’s infrastructure,” said Graves. “Infrastructure seems to be at the forefront of everyone’s to-do-list and I believe my experience as a professional pilot and legislator coupled with my policy depth and conservative values will serve the conference well as we begin discussions on an infrastructure bill.

“Addressing our crumbling infrastructure has long been a bipartisan issue, and I am intent on working with all my colleagues, the Senate, and President Trump to craft an infrastructure proposal that includes finding a long-term funding solution for the Highway Trust Fund. Infrastructure drives every aspect of our economy and at the end of the day, this effort will save people’s lives, time and money,” he added.

Democratic T&I Ranking Member Peter DeFazio is expected to succeed Shuster as chair.

P3 was widely backed at this week’s hearing by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works into surface transportation infrastructure needs, as committee members sought consensus.

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) said: “I know that my good friend, Senator [Tom] Carper agrees that it’s up to our committee –working together as we did on water infrastructure – working with the administration – to move forward with legislation to improve our highways, our roads, and our bridges well into the future.

“Let’s continue on that road and get a highway infrastructure bill passed next year.”

Robert Lanham, vice president of the Associated General Contractors of America, told the hearing: “It must be understood that [P3s] are an enhancement and not the solution to the funding shortfall.”