Democrat Infrastructure Proposal Supports ITS
March 13, 2018

Pete Goldin

From an ITS perspective, it is nice to see technology mentioned in general, and Intelligent Transportation Systems mentioned by name, in the Senate Democrats Jobs & Infrastructure Plan for America's Workers, a $1 Trillion infrastructure investment proposal announced on March 7, 2018.

The proposal's clear support for ITS was stated as: "We will provide funding for targeted, applied research and development of new technologies that have the potential to create dramatic breakthroughs for safety, innovation, and operations of our nation’s highways. The Senate Democrats’ funding for research programs includes programs to advance and deploy technology such as Intelligent Transportation Systems. These research programs will help to identify and accelerate technologies that will bring significant benefits to our transportation system, creating smart cities with vehicle-to-vehicle, and vehicle-to-infrastructure technology as well as other initiatives to improve transportation efficiency, safety, and reliability."

The proposal adds: "Implementing and incentivizing new technologies can help address safety challenges. We recommend advancing the use of improved safety technologies, such as advanced driver assistance systems for cars and trucks; and additional funding for research into Intelligent Transportation Systems to improve highway safety."

The proposal also includes $10 Billion in funding for TIGER grants, compared to $500 million in 2017 and 2016 each, stating: "In the 2016, DOT was able to fund only 5% of the total amount requested by States and local communities, leaving many projects unfunded."

It may be nice to hear these sentiments, but the question is whether the proposal has a chance of passing the US Congress. That, of course, remains to be seen.

In comparison, the Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America from the White House, unveiled in February, does not once mention Intelligent Transportation Systems. The White House plan does mention technology in this context one time, however, with regards to federal grants with multiple goals including "spurring the development and use of new and rapidly evolving infrastructure technology to improve cost and improve performance."