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Extinguishing the Fire

RR041519 FireApril 15, 2019 – Reports of progress on infrastructure funding last week may have been, shall we say, premature. Instead of stoking the fire, hopes are now extinguishing. In the House, leadership reportedly wants to move forward with a big infrastructure bill, hyping up the idea at a Democratic retreat last week, but details are scarce, according to Politico's Morning Transportation report. House Transportation Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) is making plans for a six-year surface transportation bill, and wants to raise the gas tax. It's still an open question about whether his leadership will get behind him.

In the Senate, Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) is pushing to get his version of the surface reauthorization through committee by this summer, but hasn't expressed much interest in a broader bill and hasn't found agreement on how to pay for investments (besides saying that a gas tax hike is out of the question). 

Cement industry leaders, who were in Washington last week, were "flabbergasted" by the lack of leadership on infrastructure funding. "It's clear that now more than ever, there's zero consensus on a pay-for," said Rachel Derby, a vice president of government affairs at the Portland Cement Association.