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Looking Ahead: ACT's Policy Priorities in 2022


Posted: 01/11/2022
Category: Public Policy


Entering 2022, the focus of federal transportation policy will be on the implementation of new funding programs established under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), ongoing negotiations surrounding the Build Back Better (BBB) Act and the relevant provisions within this reconciliation bill, and the timeline for Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023 appropriations legislation leading up to the November midterm elections.

USDOT Implementation of IIJA Programs

With the passage of the IIJA last November, we can expect a gradual rollout of new infrastructure bill-established programs from the USDOT in 2022. New programs under the IIJA of particular interest to ACT members include the Congestion Relief Program, Carbon Reduction Program, and the Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grant Program, among others, while funding and eligibility were increased and expanded for existing programs like the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program and Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).

Of the newly established programs, the Congestion Relief Program will provide $50 million each year in competitive grant funding for the next 5 fiscal years to advance multimodal solutions that reduce highway congestion and associated costs. The Carbon Reduction Program, which provides $6.4 billion in formula funding for States, will help reduce transportation emissions through the development and implementation of public transportation infrastructure and congestion management technology. The SMART Grant Program includes $500 million in competitive grant funding to support projects incorporating innovative transportation technologies or data to reduce congestion delays and improve access to jobs, education, and critical services to strengthen transportation systems and reduce pollution.  

BBB Act Negotiations and Provisions

The latest iteration of the BBB Act includes provisions supportive of TDM policies such as the reinstatement of employer-provided bicycle commuting benefits and expansion of its eligibility to include electric bicycles, scooters, and electric scooters. This bill also creates new transportation programs like the Affordable Housing Access Program, Neighborhood Access and Equity Grant Program, and Community Climate Incentive Grant Program to support projects that improve accessibility, establish new transit routes for disadvantaged or underserved communities, and reduce on-road greenhouse gas emissions. Though negotiations between the Administration and Senate for the BBB Act remain at a standstill this moment, Senate Democrats have signaled their willingness to restart negotiations in hopes of reaching an agreement for this bill.

FY 2022 and FY 2023 Appropriations and November Midterm Elections

As Congress returns to Washington for the second half of the 117th Congress, the Senate will have until February 18 to vote and approve FY 2022 appropriations that the House passed last summer or enact another continuing resolution to avoid a federal government shutdown. Looking forward to the spring, we will continue to look for opportunities where ACT can provide input and push for TDM policies as legislators begin drafting annual appropriations legislation for FY2023. Committee markups for these bills and subsequent floor votes in the House and Senate will likely occur in the summer and early fall.

 

Beyond September, Congress will enter into a lame-duck period as Members of the House and Senate return to their home districts and states in October to campaign ahead of the November midterm elections. Any major legislation or agreement will likely have been completed in Congress before this time with the holiday season following shortly after the elections.





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