ASA Supports Continued Investment in Surface Transportation Funding
ASA joined the Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) in applauding the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure’s work last year on the $1.5 trillion Moving Forward Act, H.R. 2. This legislation marked the broadest and most robust proposed levels of federal investment in the nation’s transportation infrastructure ever passed by a body of Congress. With the current extension of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act set to expire on September 30th, ASA and the TCC is ready to work with Congress to heed President Biden’s call for action on infrastructure legislation. Any broad infrastructure package should include, like last year’s H.R. 2, a new, five-year, robustly-funded highway and public transportation investment law. The following are potential legislative changes ASA and TCC offered to what passed in the House in 2020:
- Section 1201 –National Highway Performance Program – we proposed striking any language potentially limiting construction for single occupancy vehicles.
- Section 1209 –Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) – we support the current language in the FAST Act ensuring that HSIP funds are used for only HSIP-eligible physical infrastructure projects and cannot be flexed to other safety programs. We requested language allowing for flexible funding for specified safety projects be stricken.
- Section 1213 –Carbon Pollution Reduction – we suggested striking language that makes passenger rail capital and operating expenses eligible and replace with a project eligible under Title 23.
- Section 1301 –Projects of National and Regional Significance (PNRS) – we proposed the maintenance of the PNRS program, but make it entirely General Fund authorized, discretionary appropriations program and use the $9 billion of subsequently freed up HTF-supported funding to reinstitute the INFRA grant program with the same policy as the FAST Act.
- Section 1304 –Community Climate Innovation Grants – we proposed adding language to make a State an eligible applicant and to strike subparagraph (k) in this section. In addition, we would strike intercity passenger rail eligibility and replace it with a project that is eligible under Title 23. Finally, we proposed adding reporting requirements, like what is required for the INFRA program.
- Section 1306 –Gridlock Reduction Grant Program –we proposed to change the name of the grant program to the “Congestion Reduction Grant Program.” We proposed to make a State an eligible applicant and suggest adding language to make highway and freight projects eligible under subpart (d). Finally, we would add language under award prioritization for projects that are included in the State Freight Plan.
- 5102 –Materials to Reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Program - we support the new $2-4 million grant program to reduce GHG emissions in materials with the following changes:
- Strengthen the focus of the grant program on reducing GHG emissions.
- Ensure the program awards grants involving all stages of the pavement lifecycle.
- Include “pavement performance” as a key metric on evaluating materials that reduce GHG emissions.