Ahead of the House debate on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package set to start Monday, Rep. Anthony Brown stressed its importance before a scheduled vote Thursday on Capitol Hill.
While standing outside Largo Town Center Metro station, the Maryland Democrat focused on how the funding helps highway, bridge and public transportation projects, as well as connect roads to underserved communities the White House has said historically affected Black neighborhoods.
“We have to think big. We have to go bold,” he said Monday. “It’s not enough to only invest in our physical infrastructure, but we also have to invest in our human capital. We have to do both. By doing so, we will truly support working families throughout our country.”
Brown also mentioned his support for the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill affiliated with President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda, which includes climate change mitigation, expansion of health care and more infrastructure improvements.
The push to support the infrastructure measure partly focuses on annual funding for Metro, the D.C. region’s transit system.
About $150 million annually would benefit Metro, providing for capital and maintenance projects including electric buses, decrease reliance on fossil fuels and refurbish some of the Metrorail stations in Maryland, D.C. and Northern Virginia.
Raymond Jackson, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, the union representing most of Metro’s workers, summarized how Congress consented to create Metro more than 50 years ago through a compact, which outlines how the transit agency is governed and financed within the three jurisdictions.
“We need for Congress to pass this bipartisan infrastructure bill,” he said. “To put it in simple terms: Congress, this is your baby. It’s time for you to start paying some of the child support.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said in a statement Sunday that the goal will be to pass the bill Thursday, the expiration date for the “surface transportation authorization” that allows for federal spending on highways and transit projects.
The infrastructure bill was approved last month in the Senate with a 69-30 vote, including 19 Republicans in favor.
Meanwhile, the House Budget Committee on Saturday passed the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill out of its group and sent it to the House floor.
Sherri Howard, a labor delivery nurse for 17 years, said the federal spending would increase hiring of Blacks and Latinos into the health care profession, education for expected mothers and advanced training for existing health care workers.
“This funding would allow me to have training I need and to be an expert in my field,” said Howard, who works near the Largo Metro station at the University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center. “These are many of the reasons we should pass the agenda for health care [workers] and the patients I see every day.”