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House sets date for final infrastructure vote

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The House of Representatives is expected to vote Thursday on the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

Originally, a vote had been expected as early as today. However, on Sunday evening, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would begin debate on IIJA today and then vote on Thursday.

The current surface transportation authorization is set to expire on Thursday, meaning the House must pass the infrastructure package or a short-term extension of the Fixing America’s Surface Transporation (FAST) Act, or face the Highway Trust Fund going insolvent.

ATSSA joins 100-plus groups urging House members to support infrastructure bill

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ATSSA was among 110 groups today sending a letter to all members of the House of Representatives, encouraging them to vote for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which passed the Senate in bipartisan action.

The IIJA “represents a historic opportunity to provide substantial economic and quality of life enhancements to communities across the country and to build for the future,” the letter states. “The investments made in the package would facilitate long overdue repairs and improvements to our roads, bridges, rail, and public transportation, and other critical infrastructure, such as airports, ports, broadband, energy, and water systems.”

The infrastructure bill includes a 5-year reauthorization of federal highway, public transportation and passenger rail programs, which the groups note would “ensure states and localities have much-needed funding and policy certainty to proceed with planned projects.”

Those projects are currently operating under a funding extension set to expire Sept. 30.

ATSSA surveys reveal impact of raw materials supply issues on members

Association advocates on behalf of members amid supply challenges

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Nearly 90% of ATSSA manufacturers and suppliers reported experiencing a shortage of raw materials needed to produce roadway safety products, according to an ATSSA survey this summer.

That percentage increased from 75% when those same members were surveyed in March, according to data assembled by ATSSA.

ATSSA surveyed its members after hearing that limited supplies of materials were impacting the work of the roadway safety infrastructure industry. Multiple factors were leading to the supply challenges: extreme weather in February in the Midwest and Texas, the effects of COVID-19 in the U.S. and delays in the supply line due to international shipping.

ATSSA leads effort in filing legal brief supporting reversal of FCC safety spectrum decision

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ATSSA filed a friend of the court brief in support of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network (AREDN), which are appealing an order by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reallocate a portion of the 5.9 GHz spectrum band to unlicensed uses including WiFi.

The FCC voted unanimously on Nov. 18, 2020 to reallocate more than half of the safety band. The new rules adopted by the FCC make the lower 45 megahertz (MHz) of the spectrum available for unlicensed uses and require Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) licensees to stop using that portion of the spectrum within a year.

The FCC’s action came despite warnings from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), U.S. Department of the Treasury and multiple transportation-safety-focused organizations including ATSSA.

Senate passes bipartisan infrastructure package

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The Senate today passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The $1.2 trillion plan includes the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act (STRA) that passed through the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee earlier this year.

“ATSSA applauds the passage of this historic investment in roads, bridges and safety,” ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner said. “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will allow ATSSA members to undertake even more lifesaving work on America’s roadways. We are encouraged by the work done in a bipartisan manner in the Senate and strongly urge the House to follow their lead in implementing a robust, long-term and safety-focused infrastructure plan.”

The House will need to also pass the infrastructure plan for it to go into effect. However, members on both sides of the aisle have expressed a weariness toward the Senate version. It is unclear what the plan forward is on the legislation.

Final action on a Senate infrastructure package could be a week away

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Senate action Wednesday night on a bipartisan infrastructure package starts the clock on the issue but a final vote on the Senate floor could be at least a week away.

The Senate voted 67-32 Wednesday night to proceed to debate on the bipartisan infrastructure package that has been agreed to by a group of 22 Republican and Democrat senators, known as the G-22. Seventeen Republican senators voted to advance the measure. The Biden administration also supported it.

If passed, the legislation would then head to the House, where members of both parties have expressed concerns with the package as constructed.

Senate sets timeframe for infrastructure package

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) indicated that the Senate should expect to vote on a bipartisan infrastructure package later this month.

The framework of the package was agreed to in late June and has the support of the “G-22,” a group of 11 Democrat and 11 Republican senators. The framework’s initial total cost is $1.2 trillion, with $109 billion going to roads and bridges and $11 billion marked for safety.

Senate Democrats intend on pairing the infrastructure package with a companion $3.5 trillion budget resolution made up of priorities kept out of the bipartisan bill, including action on climate change, increases to childcare and a potential increase on taxes for corporations.

Michigan legislative delegation tours roadway work zone with ATSSA members and staff

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A delegation from the Michigan legislature, in partnership with the Michigan ATSSA Chapter (MI-ATSSA) and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), toured an active work zone this week in Flint, Mich.

The legislators experienced first-hand how intense a roadway construction rebuild site can be for workers and motorists. 

Reps. Tim Sneller and John Cherry, as well as Montel Menifee from the office of Michigan Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, took part in the tour, which focused on safety for both workers and motorists within work zones. 

House passes surface transportation reauthorization

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The House of Representatives passed the INVEST in America Act earlier today by a margin of 221-201. The legislation passed on a mostly party line vote, with two Republicans—Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Rep Chris Smith (R-NJ)—voting in support of the legislation.

The five-year, $715 billion package includes $343 billion for roads, bridges and safety, with $15.9 billion of that dedicated to the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP).

With this legislation passing the full House, attention now turns to the Senate where, earlier this year, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee passed its version of this bill, known as the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act (STRA) of 2021. 

House moves closer to passage of surface transportation reauthorization

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The House Rules Committee will hold its second meeting of the week today on the INVEST in America Act, the surface transportation reauthorization proposal that passed out of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee last month.

The meetings will determine which amendments that have been filed from members of the full House of Representativea are deemed germane, setting up a final vote on the House floor potentially as early as this week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has targeted passage prior to the July 4th recess for months, and the actions by the Rules Committee should keep that timetable in play.

Out of the 261 amendments filed, ATSSA is very supportive of three.

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