House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee releases proposed INVEST in America Act
Today, the Democratic leadership of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee released proposed legislation to reauthorize the federal transportation program through Fiscal Year 2025. The bill, Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act (INVEST in America Act), was introduced by Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chair Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Chair Dan Lipinski (D-IL).
The proposal authorizes federal transportation funding for five years, at a total of $494 billion, $319 billion of which will be for highway investments.
In effort to minimize disruptions to the program during the COVID-19 pandemic, the policy changes in the legislation would not take effect until FY 2022 and the funding for FY 2021 would be eligible to be up to 100 percent federal share.
“ATSSA is encouraged by the majority leaders on the committee in their efforts to put forth a bill to rebuild America, including increases in roadway safety infrastructure funding," said ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner. "With more than 36,000 men, women and children being killed annually on U.S roadways, it’s critical that the next surface transportation bill have a laser focus on proven, cost-effective roadway safety infrastructure investments.
"ATSSA looks forward to working with the House and Senate in a bipartisan fashion at making the final package even more effective at reducing fatalities and serious injuries. Investments in America’s transportation infrastructure have historically been a bipartisan effort, and we strongly encourage Congress to continue that tradition as the legislative process moves forward in the months to come.”
ATSSA’s Government Relations Team continues to analyze the 864-page legislation; however, below are some areas of interest to the roadway safety infrastructure industry. Additional information will be provided as it is available.
Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP):
- ATSSA has a longstanding policy of supporting increased funding of HSIP to 10% of the federal aid highway program or $3 billion, annually. Although the official programmatic funding levels have not yet been released, early calculations indicate that HSIP would be funded at around $3 billion annually, an increase of the current $2.6 billion. This is a positive movement forward for reducing fatalities and serious injuries on U.S. roadways, said Vice President of Government Relations Nathan Smith.
- The legislation includes a focus on high-risk rural roads, with states being required to focus on rural road safety with infrastructure investments.
- The bill includes a renewed focus on Safe Routes to School.
- The bill reestablishes a state’s ability to flex HSIP funds to behavioral safety projects at 10%.
Work Zone Safety:
- The Work Zone Safety Grant continues to be included in this proposed legislation, with a potential for an increase in funding.
- The proposal also includes a focus on work zone safety within a section dedicated to workforce development within the transportation and roadway construction industry.
- The bill includes a safety theme throughout with a focus on vulnerable road users, vision zero/toward zero deaths, and the concept of complete streets.
Highway Trust Fund:
- Although the bill does not address how these funding levels would be paid for – that is the jurisdiction of the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee – an expanded nationwide pilot of a vehicle miles traveled user fee is included to assess the feasibility of eventually moving from a traditional federal gas and diesel excise tax.
Performance Measures and MUTCD:
- The bill amends how states develop their safety performance measures and also would direct the Secretary of Transportation to amend the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) to require state and local agencies to use a “safe systems approach” when setting speed limits.
Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs):
- The bill directs the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to undertake a study on how connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) will safely interact with road users and creates a working group of users to guide the study.