House Republicans Tuesday tapped Missouri Rep. Sam Graves as chair of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.
The move was expected, as Graves has served as the committee’s ranking Republican for four years, where he worked alongside now-retired former chair Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.
The T&I committee has jurisdiction over all modes of transportation, including roads, highways, bridges, railroads and skies.
The shift in control comes as the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act enters its second year of allocation. Graves, who has criticized the law as driving up inflation, has vowed to ramp up oversight into how the Department of Transportation is spending the money and how inflation is affecting project costs.
In a statement issued Tuesday, Graves said “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. We also have an important legislative agenda ahead, including looking at packages to help alleviate ongoing energy and supply chain problems.”
“When you’re pushing $1.2 trillion out as fast as it’s being pushed out, there’s going to be a lot of waste and abuse,” Graves told local television reporters. “We also have to make sure the administration is following the intent of the law, the letter of the law.”
Graves is a top critic of a controversial Federal Highway Administration memo from December 2021 that critics contend tries to dictate how states should spend the $350 billion of highway infrastructure dollars allocated under the IIJA.
Graves and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, D-W.Va., chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said recently they would introduce a resolution of disapproval of the memo. The move would overturn the rule if it passes both chambers.
Topping the committee’s to-do list this year will be the funding reauthorization for Federal Aviation Administration and aviation programs.
Graves, who is a professional pilot, said in his statement that he aims for a bipartisan, long-term reauthorization of the FAA. He also said he is looking for bipartisan reauthorizations of the next Water Resources Development Act and a pipeline safety bill.
The committee’s ranking Democrat is Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash.
The committee is also expected to feature several new members as Republicans build up their committees this week.
In a statement, the American Public Transportation Association said Graves has a “deep understanding of how forward-looking investments in infrastructure can fundamentally impact and benefit our communities, economy, and Americans’ daily lives.”