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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.”

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