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ATSSA urges governors to include roadway workers in Phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccine plan

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ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner sent a letter today to the nation’s governors asking them to include roadway construction personnel and the manufacturers of roadway safety devices and construction machinery in Phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccination plan as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended the group deemed as essential critical infrastructure be included in Phase 1b. Frontline workers such as emergency responders and teachers are also included in this phase.

Roadway infrastructure industry personnel were deemed essential critical infrastructure workers last spring by the Department of Homeland Security. 

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.

Biden names MassDOT Secretary as FHWA deputy administrator

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President Joe Biden named Stephanie Pollack as deputy administrator for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced the departure of Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Secretary and CEO Pollack and named her successor, according to a news release from the governor’s press office today.

Pollack will also serve as acting administrator for FHWA until a permanent administrator is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, according to the release.

ATSSA joins stakeholders in urging Biden to commit to zero fatalities by 2050

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ATSSA, along with more than 70 other organizations, sent a letter to President Joseph R. Biden on Wednesday urging him to commit to reaching a goal of zero roadway fatalities by 2050.

“Reaching zero fatalities has been a longtime priority for ATSSA,” said Vice President of Engagement Nate Smith. “Our advocacy work in Washington, D.C. and in state capitals around the country is consistently urging legislators to make progress towards that goal.”

Industry report lays out COVID-19 relief funding to DOTs by state

Latest package sends nearly $10 billion to DOTs across the country

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The latest COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress included nearly $10 billion in federal funds for transportation as reported here last month. The vast majority of that money--$9.8 billion—will go to state departments of transportation (DOTs) across the country.  

Industry publication Construction Dive has now gathered details of the amounts expected to go to each state DOT as well as the DOT for the nation’s capital, and created a chart detailing the allotments. Its report also details how the money will be allotted and indicates that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is to distribute the funds within 30 days of the bill’s signing by former President Donald Trump, which took place Dec. 27.

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