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Senate EPW Committee passes safety-focused highway bill

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The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee today unanimously passed the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021 (STRA), its proposal to reauthorize the expiring highway program.

The proposed legislation, which was crafted in a bipartisan manner, funds surface transportation programs at $304 billion over five years, which is a 34% increase over current funding levels. This funding includes historic funding levels for the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), $16.8 billion over the five-year period, which is a nearly $2 billion increase over current funding levels.

ATSSA worked hard to ensure that funding levels for HSIP were as high as possible and then continued to work to insert additional safety provisions and funding in other programs throughout the legislation. Now our team will work to ensure these advocacy successes remain in the package as it winds its way through Congress this summer.

Register now for ATSSA’s 2021 Legislative Briefing & Virtual Fly-In

Connect with Capitol Hill policymakers from a socially distant virtual platform

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Take part in ATSSA’s 2021 Legislative Briefing & Virtual Fly-In from the comfort and safety of home. The April 21-22 event is free for members and will be completely online making access to Capitol Hill policymakers convenient and effective.

Last year’s virtual event proved popular with ATSSA members and provided a great way to interact with legislators without the need for travel. Participants drove their message to Capitol Hill and enjoyed direct interactions with members of Congress and congressional staff involved in funding and policy decisions.

ATSSA’s Legislative Briefing & Fly-In equips members to present key roadway safety infrastructure industry issues directly to political leaders and this year’s issues are key for the industry. The FAST Act, or Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, was a hot topic last year as ATSSA members advocated successfully for a one-year extension but a new deadline is looming.

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.

Senate passes one-year extension of federal highway bill

Measure included in action to prevent government shutdown

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The Senate this evening approved a one-year extension of the federal highway bill, which would have expired at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday.

The extension was included in a continuing resolution (CR) passed by both chambers to avert a government shutdown. The stopgap bill pushes the deadline to pass the yearly spending budgets for the federal government to Dec. 11.

The Senate approved the action by an 84-10 vote.

Highway bill extension included in House continuing resolution today

One-year extension part of House of Representatives proposal to avoid shutdown

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Democrats in the House of Representatives today proposed a Continuing Resolution that includes a one-year extension of the current federal highway bill.

The resolution is aimed at avoiding a federal government shutdown but included the highway bill, which is scheduled to expire on Sept. 30. The federal government shutdown could come in nine days without action. The proposal would fund the government through Dec. 11.

If approved, the resolution would ensure that current transportation programs would not lapse on their expiration date of Oct. 1.

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