The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) has sent letters to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee outlining the association’s transportation infrastructure priorities for the 116th Congress.
Signed by ITSA’s president and CEO, Shailen P Bhatt; Malcolm Dougherty, ITSA board chair and transportation practice lead SVP at Michael Baker International; and Jennifer Cohan, ITSA vice chair and secretary of Delaware DOT; the letters address the two key transportation and infrastructure committees of the USA’s federal legislature. Starting January 3, the 116th Congress will run until January 3, 2021. The letters highlight a technology revolution that has seen rapid advances in robotics, artificial intelligence and wireless communications, and states the organization’s commitment to working with Congress on legislation that increases federal commitments to ITS technologies that save lives, improve mobility, promote sustainability, and increase efficiency and productivity. ITS America’s transportation infrastructure priorities include:
- FAST Act Reauthorization – To keep pace with advances in transportation technology, ITS America supports a reauthorization of 2015’s FAST (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation) Act that prioritizes federal policy and programs that make intelligent transportation deployment the rule rather than the exception and provides federal funding, financing and grants that encourage the rapid deployment of ITS technologies on a large scale;
- Infrastructure Legislation – To increase investments in ITS, the organization urges Congress to make use of existing FAST Act programs and create new emerging technology grants. This could include an infrastructure bill that would provide a unique opportunity to create formula and grant funding programs for emerging technologies that support congestion relief in metropolitan and urban cores, as well as heavily traveled regions and freight corridors;
- Saving the Spectrum for Transportation Critical Safety Communications – New and developing Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technology that depends on the 5.9GHz band holds the potential to improve safety on the country’s roads and can also enhance automated driving systems, which hold the promise to provide numerous economic, environmental and societal benefits. However, these innovations require dedicated spectrum to ensure they work every time without signal interference. ITS America strongly supports preserving the entire 5.9GHz band for transportation safety applications;
- Mobility on Demand (MOD) – ITS America advocates for policies that promote MOD and remove roadblocks that limit or restrict federal funding for integrated multimodal transportation systems and supports an increased national commitment to public transit, as it will be a key component in any successful implementation of MOD. The organization supports policies that promote arrangements between public transit agencies and other shared modes of transportation to help promote first-mile/last-mile solutions and foster alternative transportation modes;
- Increase Buildout of Alternative Fuel Vehicle Infrastructure – With transportation now the largest source of carbon emissions in the USA, ITS America supports policies in the infrastructure sector that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The organization supports an infrastructure legislation package that would provide increased federal funding to rapidly buildout alternative fuel vehicle infrastructure and new technologies, such as inductive charging to speed the deployment of electric vehicles (EVs).