ACT Submits Comments to Senate on National Defense Authorization Act

Letters & Comments, Public Policy,

We write to urge the inclusion of the attached bipartisan amendment updating the federal definition of Transportation Demand Management (TDM) in S. 4543 – The James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (NDAA).

TDM is the use of strategies to inform and encourage travelers to maximize the efficiency of a transportation system leading to improved mobility, reduced congestion, and lower vehicle emissions. This includes the use of planning, programs, policy, marketing, communications, incentives, pricing, data, and technology to shift travel mode, routes used, departure times, number of trips, and location and design of workspaces or public attractions. TDM strategies extend beyond traditional public transit options, such as subways and buses, and include bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, electric vehicles, e-mobility solutions such as scheduling apps and ridematching, telecommuting, and vanpools. TDM strategies play a vital role in helping to reduce traffic congestion which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions, wear and tear on existing infrastructure, and promotes efficient use of existing transportation options.

The adoption of this amendment is an important policy to communities throughout the US for numerous reasons, but the biggest is the parity an updated federal definition would bring to funding for programs across the country. TDM’s greatest strength is the broad and flexible applicability to a multitude of transportation options. However, the lack of a reliable and consistent TDM definition means some Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) regions allow TDM strategies to be eligible for funding while others do not. This creates a significant disparity in funding opportunities throughout the country. By updating the TDM definition, we can ensure communities from California to Oklahoma to North Carolina to Rhode Island are afforded the same opportunities to implement and receive funding for whatever TDM strategies work best for their communities. It is precisely this lack of a one-size-fits-all approach that makes TDM strategies such a valuable tool for local communities’ efforts to improve the quality of life of commuters, enhance the livability of communities, and stimulate economic activity.

This amendment also boasts a direct nexus to defense installations. Like many other large employers, defense installations tend to draw large amounts of vehicular traffic each day. By allowing greater flexibility for implementing TDM strategies, local communities can alleviate transportation and congestion impacting defense installations, which means these defense installations can continue to carry out their missions in an efficient and high-level manner that is crucial to the defense of the United States. We urge your support to include our amendment in the Fiscal Year 2023 NDAA.

Download a copy of ACT's letter