On Friday (November 5) US lawmakers in Congress gave final approval for President Biden’s historic US$1.2 trillion package to improve the country’s roads, bridges, pipes, ports and internet connections
In a key victory for the Biden Administration the 228-to-206 vote garnered bipartisan support, giving a long-anticipated boost to the entire US transportation industry, including ITS and tolling.
Accordingly, ITS America’s president and CEO Laura Chace, issued a statement welcoming the new legislation and looking forward to a new era of transformative transportation upgrades in the coming months and years.
Laura Chace’s statement reads: “With the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the House of Representatives set the stage for transforming the US transportation system.
“Technology is the key to delivering this transformation – with road fatalities climbing, climate reports becoming increasingly dire, and congestion once again clogging our roads, we are at a pivotal moment.
“ITS America and our members were instrumental in ensuring critical technologies were made eligible for funding in areas such as cybersecurity and mobility on demand, safety priorities like vision zero and vehicle-to-pedestrian technologies, alternative fueling infrastructure, congestion relief, additional research funding, and broadband deployment.
“Now it is time to invest in and deploy these tools that will allow us to build a digital layer over our physical infrastructure and power our technology-driven 21st century economy. If we make the choice to invest in technology, we will deliver a robust transportation system – one that ensures access and opportunity for all as well as safer roads and more efficient, cleaner mobility.”
On the passing of the bill President Biden commented: “This is something that’s long overdue. That long has been talked about in Washington, but never actually been done. The House of Representatives passed and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. That’s a fancy way of saying a bipartisan infrastructure bill.
“It’s a once-in-a-generation investment that’s going to create millions of jobs, modernize our infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our broadband – a whole range of things – and turn the climate crisis into an opportunity and it puts us on a path to win the economic competition of the 21st century that we face with China and other large countries, and the rest of the world.
“And for all of you at home who feel left behind and forgotten, in an economy that’s changing so rapidly, this bill is for you. The vast majority of the jobs that will be created won’t require a college degree. There’ll be jobs in every part of the country – red states, blue states, cities, small towns, rural communities, tribal communities. This is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America. And it’s long overdue.”
Good for tolling
The US tolling community also voiced its approval with Mark Compton, CEO of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and 2021 president of IBTTA (International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association) issuing his own statement: “IBTTA and its members salute Congress for passing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This is an essential step in rebuilding and modernizing the nation’s transportation infrastructure. The reauthorization of the federal surface transportation program and commitments to additional new investment will continue to ensure America’s economic competitiveness, safety and sustainability. We are pleased that the legislation recognizes the important role that tolling and road pricing plays in meeting America’s investment, mobility and climate change challenges.”
Pat Jones, executive director and CEO of IBTTA, added: “IBTTA and its members are ready to support Congress, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Administration to put this legislation into action for the American people. We offer the leadership and innovation of the IBTTA community in transportation and tolling to ensure that we make the most of these historic infrastructure investments by strengthening our economy and improving the lives of all Americans. We will continue to promote tolling and road pricing programs as an equitable and sustainable means of transportation funding and finance.”