On Wednesday (3 June 2020) the US House of Representatives introduced the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act (INVEST in America Act), a comprehensive bill to revitalise America’s ageing infrastructure, accelerate economic recovery, and meet the challenge of climate change, which was welcomed by ITS America.
The bill outlines hundreds of billions of dollars of investment inAmerica’s roads, bridges, and transit systems, and includes extra funding to help agencies struggling in the wake of Covid-19.
“First and foremost, the bill recognises Covid-19’s impact on our nation’s state and local transportation agencies and provides needed support over the next year,” said Shailen Bhatt, president and CEO of ITS America in a statement. “Beyond these immediate needs, we appreciate the increased long-term funding in the bill, because building infrastructure for the 21st Century requires a multi-year investment.
“As the association that promotes technology to reduce fatalities, congestion and emissions, ITS America is gratified to see so many positive aspects in the bill that will lead to more research in and deployment of technology, including increasing access to mobility services by making Mobility on Demand an eligible activity under transit programmes.
“We make data-driven decisions in transportation. When it comes to safety, the data is stark – nearly 37,000 people die on U.S. roads every year. Technology that allows vehicles to talk to other vehicles, the infrastructure, and vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and bicyclists is the best tool we have to save lives. This bill, for the first time, makes vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) technology eligible, which is critical to combatting the rise in pedestrian and cyclist injuries and fatalities.”
“ITS America’s vision is for a better future transformed by intelligent mobility – one that is safer, greener and smarter. The INVEST in America Act makes great strides toward realising that vision. We appreciate the committee’s leadership in introducing this bill and look forward to working with the other relevant committees as the process continues.”
Some of the key provisions of the bill are:
- $494 billion over five years for infrastructure investments in surface and rail transportation.
- $411 billion over five years out of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for highway, transit, safety, and research programs, a 46 percent increase over current investment levels.
- $83.1 billion in FY 2021 at a 100% federal match to ensure that States, cities, and transit agencies struggling financially amid the Covid-19 pandemic can administer programs, advance projects, and preserve jobs.
- Triple funding for Amtrak–$29.3 billion over five years, including a record $13.1 billion for the Northeast Corridor.
- Incentives for transit agencies to add new routes and provide reliable service, encouraging viable public transit options and fewer single-occupant cars clogging highways.
- A new carbon pollution reduction program, investing $8.3 billion in highway, transit, and rail projects that will reduce greenhouse gases, and holds States accountable for their performance by measuring annual progress and requiring low-performing States to dedicate additional resources toward reducing carbon pollution.
- $1.75 billion in alternative fuel charging infrastructure, helping America shift to the next generation of clean vehicles.
- A new pre-disaster mitigation program, providing $6.25 billion to help States prepare for and mitigate the impacts of climate change and extreme weather, including through natural infrastructure.
- $1.725 billion for zero emission buses, greening our transit systems and improving air quality in our communities.