Momentum: Issue #49

July 6, 2020

$500 Billion Surface Transportation Reauthorization is Centerpiece of Massive Infrastructure Bill Passed by House

On July 1, the House of Representatives approved the Moving Forward Act, a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill – and the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act is the centerpiece. The bill, which passed mostly along party lines after two days of debate and amendments, makes climate policy a core feature of highway funding programs and creates new climate programs. 

The INVEST in America Act incorporates numerous priorities from the ITS America FAST Act reauthorization platform Moving People, Data, and Freight: Safer. Greener. Smarter. The INVEST in America Act provides $494 billion over five years for surface and rail transportation investments. The five-year bill represents a 46 percent increase over current investment levels. 

It provides $83.1 billion at a 100 percent federal share in FY21 to ensure states, local transportation agencies, and transit agencies can administer programs, advance projects, and preserve jobs in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis by extending FY20 enacted levels for Federal-aid highway, transit, and safety programs through FY21. There is no new policy for FY21. The first year is, in many ways, an extension of the FAST Act with all programs at existing levels.

The bill maintains FAST Act ITS eligibilities and expands those eligibilities to new programs including the Gridlock Reduction Grant, Projects of National and Regional Significance, Community Transportation Investment Grant, Pre-disaster Mitigation Program, Community Climate Innovation Grant, Carbon Pollution Reduction Program, Safe, Efficient Mobility through Advanced Technologies program, Parking for Commercial Motor Vehicles program, Pre-disaster Hazard Mitigation program, Third-Party Data Integration Pilot program, and Multimodal Transportation Demonstration Program. 

The bill establishes a $350 million annual competitive grant program to deploy electric vehicle (E.V.) charging, hydrogen, natural gas, and propane fueling infrastructure. It allows E.V. charging stations in Interstate rest areas, Interstate fringe or corridor parking facilities, and Interstate park and ride facilities. 

The bill also establishes rules that integrate Mobility on Demand (MOD) with transit. MOD is an eligible activity under Urbanized Area Formula Grants, Formula Grants for Rural Areas, and Enhanced Mobility of Seniors & Individuals with Disabilities. Shared micromobility is now eligible under Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program, the Safe, Efficient Mobility through Advanced Technology (SEMAT) Program, and Multimodal Transportation Demonstration Program. For the first time, H.R. 2 makes Vehicle-to-Pedestrian (V2P) technology eligible for federal funding. 

H.R. 2 renames the Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) Program to the Safe, Efficient Mobility through Advanced Technology (SEMAT) Program. The bill expands the federal share of the program to 80 percent and is no longer a set-aside in the Highway Research and Development Program and Intelligent Transportation Systems Program. The bill maintains congestion pricing programs to reduce congestion and raise revenue to support transportation improvements and improve trip time reliability. H.R. 2 establishes a Third-Party Data Integration pilot program to leverage anonymous crowdsourced data from third-party entities to implement integrated traffic management systems to improve traffic flow. The bill also makes eligible smart truck parking applications. 

Under innovation, H.R. 2 increases funding for the Highway Research and Development Program and removes set-asides for this program and the Intelligent Transportation Systems Program that previously took funding away from critical research activities, including ATCMTD. The bill more than doubles funding for the Technology and Innovation Deployment Program. Funding for the University Transportation Centers (UTC) Program is $461.5 million over five years compared to $377.5 million over the five years of the FAST Act. 

The bill creates a National Highly Automated Vehicle and Mobility Innovation Clearinghouse. It provides funding for state and national VMT funding pilots. It establishes a Multimodal Transportation Demonstration Program to advanced transportation technologies for surface transportation modes in small- and mid-sized communities. 

The ITS America summary of the House-passed INVEST in America is here. Read Shailen Bhatt’s statement on the bill here and ITS America’s FAST Act reauthorization platform and recommendations: Moving People, Data, and Freight: Safer. Greener. Smarter. here.