The new U.S. House of Representatives may be paving the way for better roads in Missouri and elsewhere with the ascension of Rep. Sam Graves to the chairmanship of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
“When I first came to Congress,” the 6th Congressional District Missouri Republican said in a statement, “I fought hard to serve on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. It’s now one of the greatest honors of my life to be chosen by my colleagues to chair what I believe is one of the most important and effective committees in Congress. America cannot prosper without a safe and efficient transportation network that meets the economic needs of our diverse states and communities.
“T&I will have a full agenda over the next two years, including oversight of the administration, its implementation of the massive $1.2 trillion infrastructure law, and its policies that have exacerbated many of the economic crises facing our nation.”
Graves’ priorities as chair will include oversight of the Biden administration’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and pushing back against Biden’s new Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule “overreach.” As the ranking Republican on the committee, Graves led the charge against the new WOTUS rule from the Biden EPA.
Graves is concerned that, in implementing the new infrastructure law, the administration follows “the letter of the law” and not make up “its own rules for programs that put states like Missouri, that want to build new roads and add lanes to existing highways, at a disadvantage.”
“In December 2021, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) put out a memo instructing staff to delay or deter road and highway expansion projects,” Graves’ office told The Heartlander Wednesday. “In doing this, FHWA skirted the agency rule-making process and failed to follow the law as passed.”
Graves also has pledged to return to the committee’s previous history of bipartisanship in writing reauthorizations for the Federal Aviation Administration, the federal pipeline safety program and the Coast Guard, as well as passing another bipartisan Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) in 2024.
In the next WRDA, Graves wants to limit the science experiments on the Missouri River mandated by the Fish and Wildlife Service and prioritize flood control and navigation.
Graves also continues to serve on the House Committee on Armed Services, where his top priorities are maintaining funding for the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant and the 139th Airlift Wing of the Missouri Air National Guard.