Transit Funding Threatening to Derail Infrastructure Talks

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jul 26, 2021

Negotiations over the bipartisan infrastructure deal hit a snag over the weekend as Republicans and Democrats clashed over public transit spending, threatening to delay a vote that the White House wanted to take place as early as Monday, the Associated Press reported.

Democrats want more funding for public transit, such as rail lines, subways and buses, holding to at least the traditional funding proportion of 80 percent for roads and 20 percent for public transit. Republicans had at first seemed amenable to the idea, but recently Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) objected, saying that public transportation has already received billion of dollars in pandemic aid. Meanwhile, Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) have threatened to withdraw their own support if transit funding falls below the 20 percent mark. While Democrats over the weekend offered a deal on the matter, Republicans rejected it, saying it rehashes old issues that they believed are already closed. 

The parties also remain in disagreement over broadband funding, as well as whether to tap into the leftover COVID-19 relief funds previously passed by Congress. These issues continue to be discussed.

Negotiations have not been entirely fruitless, however. The AP said that the parties have agreed to add $15 billion to the bill to remediate lead pipe contamination beyond funds already approved in a Senate water bill.

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