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ATSSA Town Hall breaks down IIJA funding, timing

‘Gas tax holidays’ raise concerns, not expected at federal level

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Five months after the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) was signed into law, it’s understandable ATSSA members could be wondering when the money will begin flowing to projects across the country.

That was one of the key discussion points today during an ATSSA Town Hall on the “Economic Impact of the Infrastructure Package on ATSSA Member Companies.”

ATSSA Vice President of Engagement Nate Smith and Kathy Ruffalo, president of consulting firm Ruffalo & Associates, reviewed the funds expected through different programs, the steps to get them accessible and when the first money can be expected.

Smith also talked about the gas tax holiday proposals across the country and ATSSA's efforts against them.

Biden highlights guardrails in State of the Union

Tetschner applauds focus on safety and infrastructure in congressional address

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In championing the passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Joe Biden specifically mentioned “highway guardrails” as a positive outcome of the legislation. This is apparently the first mention of guardrails in the history of these presidential addresses to Congress.

Additionally, Biden announced that the nation would start fixing “over 65,000 miles of highway and 1,500 bridges in disrepair.” That was in addition to 4,000 projects Biden said had already been announced.

ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner commended the emphasis on infrastructure and the specific reference to a proven lifesaving device produced by ATSSA members.

FHWA releases guidelines for safety programs under new infrastructure package

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Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released guidelines for the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) under the new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

The guidance outlines eligibilities under the HSIP, along with defining guidance for new special rules that  fall under the HSIP.

While the majority of the HSIP guidance remains intact from the previous highway authorization, ATSSA’s Government Relations team highlighted a few changes to the guidance under the IIJA.

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 Town Hall on infrastructure package set for Nov. 18

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ATSSA will host a Town Hall next Thursday to discuss the infrastructure package recently approved by both houses of Congress.

The Town Hall will be led by ATSSA Vice President of Engagement Nate Smith and answer the question: What does it mean for ATSSA members?

The Senate approved the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) in August and the House of Representatives approved it late Friday. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the legislation soon.

House sets date for final infrastructure vote

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The House of Representatives is expected to vote Thursday on the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

Originally, a vote had been expected as early as today. However, on Sunday evening, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would begin debate on IIJA today and then vote on Thursday.

The current surface transportation authorization is set to expire on Thursday, meaning the House must pass the infrastructure package or a short-term extension of the Fixing America’s Surface Transporation (FAST) Act, or face the Highway Trust Fund going insolvent.

Senate passes bipartisan infrastructure package

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The Senate today passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The $1.2 trillion plan includes the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act (STRA) that passed through the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee earlier this year.

“ATSSA applauds the passage of this historic investment in roads, bridges and safety,” ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner said. “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will allow ATSSA members to undertake even more lifesaving work on America’s roadways. We are encouraged by the work done in a bipartisan manner in the Senate and strongly urge the House to follow their lead in implementing a robust, long-term and safety-focused infrastructure plan.”

The House will need to also pass the infrastructure plan for it to go into effect. However, members on both sides of the aisle have expressed a weariness toward the Senate version. It is unclear what the plan forward is on the legislation.

House passes surface transportation reauthorization

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The House of Representatives passed the INVEST in America Act earlier today by a margin of 221-201. The legislation passed on a mostly party line vote, with two Republicans—Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Rep Chris Smith (R-NJ)—voting in support of the legislation.

The five-year, $715 billion package includes $343 billion for roads, bridges and safety, with $15.9 billion of that dedicated to the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP).

With this legislation passing the full House, attention now turns to the Senate where, earlier this year, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee passed its version of this bill, known as the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act (STRA) of 2021. 

Congressional Road Safety Caucus puts spotlight on safety

Transportation and safety proposals this year offer optimism for roadway safety advocates

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One of the ways members of Congress shine a light on a specific issue is through the formation of congressional caucuses. Reps. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) and Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) have done exactly that in creating the bipartisan Congressional Road Safety Caucus this year.

One of the first steps came on April 14, when Reps. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.) and Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) introduced the High Risk Rural Roads Safety Grant Program Act in the House. The Act would create a new competitive grant program for local jurisdictions and tribal nations to focus federal funding on rural and tribal road safety projects.

Funded at $600 million annually, this proposal would give a needed boost to targeting safety challenges on these rural and tribal roadways.

Other roadway safety proposals are also being considered on Capitol Hill.