USDOT releases two new National Highway System rules and Recovery Act report

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The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) has released two final rules to improve the condition of roads and bridges on the National Highway System (NHS), and a report on the impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA or Recovery Act).

USDOT’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has released two final rules outlining new performance measures to improve the condition of the country’s roads and bridges, and assess travel reliability, congestion and emissions at a national level.

One rule establishes regulations to assess the condition and performance of bridges on the NHS and of pavements on the Interstate and non-Interstate NHS, and will increase accountability and transparency of the federal-aid highway program. It also will help ensure that the USA’s highways and bridges are in good condition and that the overall quality of transportation is improved through targeted investments.

The other establishes regulations to assess the performance of the NHS, Freight Movement on the Interstate System, and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program, which requires states to evaluate and report more effectively and consistently on transportation system performance, including travel time reliability, excessive delay during peak hours, freight movement reliability, and greenhouse gas and vehicle emissions. Both rules have been issued to implement performance provisions established by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.

“Deteriorating and congested roads and bridges in our nation must be addressed head on, and today’s actions help us do exactly that,” said US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These rules will play an important role in reducing travel delays and air pollution, and also improving infrastructure quality, giving the American people a better travel experience.”

The USDOT’s new report, Shovel Worthy: What the Recovery Act Taught Us About Investing in Our Nation’s Infrastructure, reviews the impact of the Recovery Act in advancing economic recovery and job creation. The Act invested more than US$48bn in transportation infrastructure during the country’s severe economic crisis to help create jobs, boost economic growth, and reduce a substantial backlog of transportation maintenance projects that would sustain or improve the conditions of roads, bridges, transit facilities, and other infrastructure assets. The report shows that:

Nearly 42,000 miles (67,600km) of roads were rebuilt; Over 2,700 bridges were strengthened and bridge quality improved; Transit investments constructed or rehabilitated 850 new facilities and provided nearly 12,000 new buses.  

Foxx noted, “Investment in America’s transportation network during the economic crisis was a critical part of the President’s effort to stabilize the economy. This report shows that the investments not only delivered what was expected, it delivered far more. The Recovery Act pioneered a new model for investing in game changing projects, and transformed the way that the Department delivers projects, setting a new standard for providing transparency and accountability to the American taxpayer.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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