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Smith: ATSSA members’ diligence made a difference with IIJA

ATSSA Town Hall breaks down details of the infrastructure bill

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ATSSA Vice President of Engagement Nate Smith told ATSSA members today that their diligence over the past 15 to 20 years played a significant role in the funding coming to roadway safety under the new infrastructure law.

“You all should pat yourselves on the back,” Smith said during an ATSSA Town Hall to discuss the impact of the bipartisan infrastructure bill that was signed into law on Monday. “This is a job well done.”

The $1.2 trillion measure is a historic investment in transportation funding and includes a 5-year, $304 billion investment in roads and bridges, Smith said. He noted that’s a 34% increase over current spending for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) and translates into $16.8 billion over five years for the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP).

Smith said he’s confident the HSIP funding will mean additional opportunities for ATSSA members.

ATSSA endorses rural road safety legislation introduced in the House

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Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.) and Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) introduced H.R. 2481, the High Risk Rural Roads Safety Grant Program Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bipartisan proposal, which is strongly supported by ATSSA, would direct federal roadway safety infrastructure funds to locally owned rural roads.

The fatality rate on rural roads is two times greater than on non-rural roads, according to U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) statistics. Additionally, local governments generally do not have the resources needed to make critical, lifesaving roadway safety infrastructure investments.

H.R. 2481 would create a $600 million competitive grant program that local governments could apply for, with the federal grant being funded at 100%. A specific $100 million set-aside is also included for tribal road safety.

In addition to ATSSA, the American Highway Users Alliance, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), National Association of Counties (NACo), National Association of County Engineers (NACE) and the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) endorsed the legislation.

Keynote speaker: Don’t rob others by refusing to change

Chad Hymas urges ATSSA members to embrace change and innovation to save lives

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For the first five years after he became a quadriplegic in a farming accident, Chad Hymas refused to pursue his love of scouting for elk.

Finally, after his father invited him again, said it wasn’t about him and said he would take his two sons himself, Hymas answered the challenge.

That was a turning point for Hymas and one he keeps constantly before him by posting a photo of his son from that day. 

Hymas, who was injured near his home in Utah on April 3, 2001, was the keynote speaker for ATSSA’s 51st Annual Convention & Traffic Expo. He took part in the Convention’s second general session today, which also included a Government Relations Panel featuring Sen. Shelly Moore Capito, (R-W.Va.), American Highway Users Alliance President & CEO Laura Perrotta  and ATSSA Vice President of Engagement Nate Smith discussing their outlook on transportation funding. ATSS Foundation Board Chair Dave Krahulec provided an update on Foundation efforts and fundraising events.

Legislation introduced to find alternative Highway Trust Fund revenues

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Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03) has introduced H.R.383, the Road User Charge Advancement Act of 2021, legislation that would build on the Surface Transportation Systems Funding Alternatives (STSFA) program included in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The bill was originally introduced during the last Congress and included in the Moving Forward Act. If it secures passage this Congress, it would nearly double current funding to $35 million annually for STSFA.

The STSFA program incentivizes states to find alternative funding solutions for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), as a reliance on revenues from the current gas tax becomes a less feasible method of keeping the HTF solvent. The federal gas tax has lost nearly 71% of its purchasing power since its most recent rate increase in 1993 due to inflation and the increase in fuel-efficient and alternative-fuel vehicles.  Failure to develop new sources of revenue could see the HTF experience a $190 billion shortfall in the next decade.

Congressional leaders find deal on COVID-19 relief and federal spending bills

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Leaders of the House and Senate agreed this afternoon to terms on a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package and a $1.4 trillion federal spending package, ending lengthy negotiations that had lasted for months. Included in the COVID relief legislation was $45 billion for transit, with $10 billion allocated to state departments of transportation for highways.

ATSSA has supported the inclusion of funds for state DOTs throughout the year and made it the main legislative priority in any discussions centered around COVID-19 relief. In addition to making it a main talking point at the ATSSA Virtual Fly-In & Legislative Briefing in September, ATSSA also signed on to multiple letters alongside fellow stakeholders to push for Congress to include these funds.

ATSSA announces strategic reorganization

Realignments and promotions allow ATSSA to better serve membership

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FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (Dec. 7, 2020) – ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner announced a realignment of two of the Association’s vice presidents to better serve its members and most effectively address the multitude of vital issues facing the roadway safety infrastructure industry.

“This decision was made to address the many issues we face as an industry devoted to working toward zero deaths. I wanted to best utilize the talented people we have on our team,” Tetschner said.

Nate Smith’s role will expand to include Member Engagement as he continues leading ATSSA’s Government Relations strategy. Donna Clark becomes Vice President of Education and Technical Services.

Biden transition team focuses on transportation issues

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As President-Elect Joe Biden continues to formulate his policy transition teams, there is a focus on transportation and infrastructure issues. There is a strong indication that infrastructure policies will be an early focus of the Biden Administration.

Today, ATSSA submitted our policy priorities to the transition team, focused on roadway safety infrastructure investments.

“For more than 50 years, ATSSA has focused on reducing roadway fatalities and serious injuries on roads throughout the country,” ATSSA President and CEO Stacy Tetschner stated. “We look forward to working with President-Elect Biden and his infrastructure advisors on ensuing that roadway safety is the focal point on any surface transportation proposals and legislation. As the voice of roadway safety, ATSSA and our members are the go-to resource for policy makers at all levels of government, including the incoming administration and future U.S Department of Transportation appointees.”

Don’t miss ATSSA’s Legislative Briefing & Virtual Fly-In on Sept. 15-16

Get a taste of legislative advocacy without the D.C. travel

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ATSSA’s 2020 Legislative Briefing & Fly-In has gone virtual, offering members the opportunity to participate without traveling to the nation’s capital.

“If you’ve never taken part, this year’s event provides a great way to get a glimpse into legislative advocacy from the comfort of your home or office,” said ATSSA Vice President of Government Relations Nate Smith. “The Legislative Briefing & Fly-In gives ATSSA members the unique opportunity to interact directly with lawmakers and have their issues and priorities heard.”

The Sept. 15-16 event is free to members but the deadline to register is Sept. 7.

Midyear Digital: Hear national experts’ short- and long-range industry forecasts

Opening General Session will reveal “6:60:6 Predictions”

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Midyear Digital’s Opening General Session features a panel of national experts providing their “6:60:6 Predictions” for the roadway safety industry.

Panelists include Ken Simonson, chief economist, Associated General Contractors of America;  Jeff Davis, senior fellow and editor, Eno Transportation Weekly; and ​Hilary Cain, vice president, Technology, Innovation, and Mobility Policy, Alliance for Automotive Innovation.

Registration is now open for this fully virtual meeting.

Recording now available of Tuesday's Town Hall with Rep. Lipinski discussing details of a highway funding bill

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The recording is now available from Tuesday's ATSSA Town Hall on the New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act (INVEST in America Act), which was introduced this month by Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chair Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Rep. Dan (D-Ill.) Lipinski, who chairs the Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee.

You can hear all of  the details from the conversation between Lipinski, a Democrat representing Illinois' 3rd Congrressoinal District, and ATSSA Vice President of Government Relations Nate Smith.

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