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Senate EPW Introduces Re-authorization Bill

Posted: 08/06/2019
Category: Public Policy

On July 30th, the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee passed, America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019. The legislation as amended passed the committee by a vote of 21 to 0.

The bill authorizes $287 billion over five years, including $259 billion for formula programs to maintain and repair America’s roads and bridges. The total represents an increase of over 27 percent from FAST Act levels. The legislation includes provisions to improve road safety, streamline project delivery, protect the environment and grow the economy.

ACT's Government Affairs team has provided initial highlights and thoughts on the bills relationship and support of TDM. Stay tuned for future briefings and information on the bill as it advances through the various Senate and House committees prior to current FAST Act expiration in September 2020.

Bill highlights:

  • CMAQ funding - $2.499 B (FAST Act last year FY2020), $2.687 B (FY2021), $2.742 B (FY2022), $2.727 B (FY2023), $2.789 B (FY2024), $2.929 B (FY2025). Total over the five years of $13.67 B.
  • Sec. 1520 of the bill requires a new GAO study of the CMAQ program and its effectiveness.
  • Sec. 1204 of the bill requires DOT Secretary to create an accessibility data pilot program. The purpose is so that open data sets are available to planners to measure access to things like work, health care, education, housing, supermarkets, etc. The purpose is to help with efficiencies in the transportation system and integrating multiple modes. 
  • Sec. 1205 also creates a program to use data for transportation planning (for larger populated areas).
  • Sec. 1207 of the bill requires a DOT study to use data to better understand travel demand to help with future forecasting. 
  • Sec. 1208, which is another TDM related provision, requires states and MPOs to fund complete street programs, work on TDM without highway expansion and figure out other ways to program more transit oriented development.
  • Sec. 1508 creates a community connectivity pilot. This program provides an average of $24 million in funding over the life of the five year bill. Program funds studies of barriers to communities being connected. Program also funds construction of projects eliminating those barriers.
  • Secs. 3004 and 3005 fund research for emerging technology. 

It appears that the section of the bill most related to the goals of TDM can be found in Subtitle D—Climate Change

  • The carbon reduction incentive program (Sec. 1403) and congestion relief program (Sec. 1404) provide funding for transportation demand management type activities (see pages 257-259, but throughout these provisions). 
  • The Congestion Relief Program receives $40 million per/year for five years. 
  • The Carbon Reduction Incentive Program has two parts to it. First, the program is a formula program (allocated to states) that receives $600 million per/year for five years. 50% of the formula money funds programs that reduce emissions while the other 50% can be used for any Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STBGP) related project if the state is reducing its carbon footprint through strategies or studies/plans. Second, there is a discretionary portion of the Carbon Reduction Program. The Carbon Reduction Performance Program is provided $100 million per/year for the five-year bill. Applicants (states or local governments) will apply to DOT directly. The purpose of the program is to fund projects that reduce emissions.

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