Democrats Counter with $547 Billion Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill
June 04, 2021

Pete Goldin

On June 4, the Democrats in the US House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure introduced Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act, a $547 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill.

"This bill takes on entirely new issues never before considered, such as climate change and multi-modal access in and through cities and towns," said Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Chair of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.

"This investment in our nation’s future will encourage more Americans to use rail transportation, reduce traffic congestion, lower carbon emissions, and reduce the effects of climate change," added Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Chair of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials.

Highlights of the bill that support Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) include:

■ More than doubling funding to $152 million for FY23 through FY26 for the Technology and Innovation Deployment Program.

■ Reauthorizing the ITS Program Advisory Committee, and removing set-asides that previously took funding away from intelligent transportation activities.

■ Establishing a national clearinghouse at a university to research the impacts of highly automated vehicles and mobility innovation (Mobility on Demand and Mobility as a Service) on land use, urban design, transportation, real estate, accessibility, municipal budgets, social equity, and the environment.

■ Studying how automated vehicles will safely interact with general road users, including vulnerable road users such as bicyclists and pedestrians.

■ Establishing a pilot program to leverage anonymous crowdsourced data from third-party entities to implement integrated traffic management systems that will improve traffic flow.

■ Authorizes the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council to develop cohesive regulatory practices for novel transportation technologies presented to the DOT.

■ Renaming the Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) program to the Mobility through Advanced Technology (MTAT) program, and focusing the program’s objectives on mobility, safety, and greenhouse gas emissions reduction.

■ Adding consideration of greenhouse gas emissions reduction throughout the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) program.

■ $4 billion investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, helping the US shift to the next generation of clean vehicles.

■ Scaled up investment in zero-emission transit vehicles, supporting fleet conversion to reduce local air pollution and related health impacts.