US Congress Unveils INVEST in America Act - a Transformational Surface Transportation Bill
June 04, 2020

Pete Goldin

The US House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure released text of the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act.

The INVEST in America Act authorizes $494 billion over five years to address some of the country's most urgent transportation needs, and highlights ITS technology in several cases:

■ Doubling funding for technology deployment to expand the implementation of innovations in the surface transportation system.

■ Focusing on transformative technologies by increasing funding to the Intelligent Transportation Systems Program and expanding smart infrastructure investment in local communities.

■ Establishing a new Highly Automated Vehicle and Mobility Innovation Clearinghouse to study the societal impacts of automated vehicles and Mobility on Demand.

■ Authorizing automated vehicle research on improving safety for all road users and expanding accessibility in an equitable manner.

■ Increasing funding for the University Transportation Centers program.

■ Creating a Mobility Innovation program to permit transit agencies to collaborate on mobility on demand services.

■ Sharply increasing funding for public transit options in urban, suburban and rural areas in order to integrate technology and increase routes and reliability with tools such as priority signaling.

■ Introducing a grant program to reduce traffic gridlock in large metropolitan areas, supporting projects to reduce and mitigate the adverse impacts of traffic congestion; make better use of existing capacity; and employ innovative, integrated, and multimodal solutions to reducing gridlock. The program includes eligibility for intelligent transportation systems, real-time traveler information, transportation demand management, and multimodal solutions.

■ Putting the US on a path toward zero emissions from the transportation sector by prioritizing carbon pollution reduction, investing in public transit and the national rail network, building out fueling infrastructure for low- and zero-emission vehicles, and deploying technology and innovative materials.

■ Providing a new grant program to fund green materials research at universities and focuses deployment programs on green construction materials and practices.

■ Expanding the Federal role in providing State and local governments with critical datasets and tools that will improve performance-based investments and access to jobs and essential services.

■ Directing the Non-Traditional and Emerging Transportation Technology (NETT) Council to develop cohesive regulatory practices for novel transportation technologies presented to the Department of Transportation, and to issue guidance to establish a clear regulatory framework for hyperloop transportation.

A statement from ITS America said: "We make data-driven decisions in transportation. When it comes to safety, the data is stark – nearly 37,000 people die on US roads every year. Technology that allows vehicles to talk to other vehicles, the infrastructure, and vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and bicyclists is the best tool we have to save lives. This bill, for the first time, makes vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) technology eligible, which is critical to combating the rise in pedestrian and cyclist injuries and fatalities."

Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR) said: "The INVEST in America Act is our opportunity to replace the outdated systems of the past with smarter, safer, more resilient infrastructure that fits the economy of the future, creates millions of jobs, supports American manufacturing, and restores US Competitiveness."

The Committee will consider the INVEST in America Act at a Committee markup scheduled for June 17. The current surface transportation authorization expires September 30, 2020.