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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 urged CDC to include critical infrastructure workers in next COVID vaccination phase

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Despite urging by ATSSA to include road construction workers and the manufacturers of roadway safety devices and construction machinery in phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccination allocation process, a committee of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) denied the request.

Instead, after meeting on Sunday, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to recommend that Americans who are 75 and older and who live independently be included in the next phase of vaccinations. They voted to place the group deemed as essential critical infrastructure in the following phase.

The committee cited the high death rates among elderly Americans, the current short-supply of the vaccine and the smaller size of the group as compared to the DHS-designated group as the reasons for the recommendation. Frontline workers such as emergency responders and teachers were also included in the next phase.  

EDC Virtual Summit offered ideas to further workforce development efforts

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ATSSA staff took part in the recent Every Day Counts (EDC) Virtual Summit, coming away with ideas to enhance workforce development efforts.

EDC is the state-based model that identifies and rapidly deploys proven innovations in transportation. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) program aims to shorten the project delivery process, enhance roadway safety, reduce traffic congestion and integrate automation.

The recent EDC Virtual Summit highlighted programs being employed by local transportation agencies and departments of transportation (DOTs). Its intent was to engage and stakeholders in day-to-day operations of the business of transportation.

Biden expected to choose Buttigieg as transportation secretary

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President-elect Joe Biden will be nominating former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), according to multiple reports.

Buttigieg, who is also the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., rose to national prominence after a surging presidential run in his bid for the Democratic nomination earlier this year. Buttigieg appears to have emerged from among contenders for the position such as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

During his presidential campaign, Buttigieg introduced an infrastructure plan that garnered support across the transportation industry.

ATSSA’s 2021 Convention & Traffic Expo provides vital connections

Event kicks off with panel on prevention and resources for work zone tragedies

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FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (Dec. 14, 2020) – ATSSA kicks off its 51st Annual Convention & Traffic Expo with a Roadway Worker Protection Summit, going to the heart of the Association’s lifesaving mission.

The Summit features a panel discussion in which two ATSSA members share the painful experience of losing an employee in a work zone incident. They will discuss resources that helped the employee’s family and their team through the aftermath. They also will talk about tips and tools aimed at preventing work zone injuries and deaths such as training, certification and equipment.

The two-hour Summit is the first session of the 2021 Convention & Traffic Expo, which is being held online over two weeks -- Feb. 8-12 and 16-18.

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