House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

Chair: Peter DeFazio

C

Projected Grade for the 116th Congress*

* Adjustments have been applied so that committees' grades are not lowered by the constraints on hearings caused by Covid-19 [oversight-index.thelugarcenter.org/covid-19-statement]

3 Investigative Oversight Hearings

31 Policy/Legislative Hearings

70 Total Hearings

Last updated: Aug. 4, 2020, 12:53 p.m.

With nearly 70 members, the committee is one of the largest in the House and is the authorizing committee for most non-military federal construction—the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, highways, bridges, dams, flood control, ports and harbors, inland waterways, federal buildings, etc. Along with its water infrastructure responsibilities comes authority over the EPA’s Clean Water Act, ocean dumping, oil pollution and coastal zone management. It is also responsible for legislation regarding the airlines and airline safety, railroads, mass transit, the Coast Guard and navigation safety, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the related regulatory agencies, such as the Federal Aviation Administration. Membership on the committee is considered politically advantageous because members can steer construction projects to their districts. The committee has six subcommittees: aviation; Coast Guard and marine transportation; economic development, public buildings and emergency management; highways and transit; railroads, pipelines and hazardous materials; and water resources and environment.

Given the committee’s large membership and broad responsibilities, it has not had a particularly busy hearing schedule, averaging only 74 hearings per Congress since 2011. Oversight activity dropped off considerably during the 114th and 115th Congresses (2015-2018) under Chair Bill Shuster (R, Pa.). (His father, Bud Shuster, also once served as committee chair.) In the 115th Congress, the first two years of the Trump administration, the committee held only 16 legislative and policy hearings, a sharp drop from the 44 in the previous Congress.

In the 115th Congress, the committee held two investigative oversight hearings: a January, 2018, hearing into the 2015 fatal sinking of a U.S.-flagged cargo ship, the SS El Faro, near the Bahamas, as well as a look at the Coast Guard’s failed, $66 million, five-year effort to implement an electronic health records system for its members and retirees; a rare, May 2017, private sector hearing on how well, or poorly, airlines treat passengers. The hearing was sparked by an incident that went viral three weeks prior in which a United Express passenger, a Vietnamese-American doctor named David Dao, was knocked unconscious and physically dragged off an overbooked plane by security personnel at O’Hare airport in Chicago for refusing to give up his seat.


Chairs

111th Congress: Jim Oberstar (D-MN)

112th Congress: John Mica (R-FL)

113th Congress: Bill Shuster (R-PA)

114th Congress: Bill Shuster (R-PA)

115th Congress: Bill Shuster (R-PA)

116th Congress: Peter DeFazio (D-OR)


Current Congress

We are 87% of the way through the 116th Congress

House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

3 Investigative Oversight Hearings; 39% historical maximum
31 Policy/Legislative Hearings; 53% historical maximum
70 Total Hearings; 73% historical maximum

Committee History

Number of Hearings
Committee Hearing Performance
Investigative/Oversight Policy/Legislative Total Hearings Score Grade
111th Congress 4 68 111 100% A
112th Congress 9 49 89 91% A-
113th Congress 6 49 85 82% B
114th Congress 2 44 58 58% F
115th Congress 2 16 64 40% F
116th Congress* 3 31 70 74% C
Historical average 4.3 42.8 79.5

* Adjustments have been applied so that committees' grades are not lowered by the constraints on hearings caused by Covid-19 [oversight-index.thelugarcenter.org/covid-19-statement]

Number of Hearings

--- Historical Average

Hearings held by the
House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

Date Hearing Title Committee Category