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ATSSA joins stakeholders in urging Biden to commit to zero fatalities by 2050

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ATSSA, along with more than 70 other organizations, sent a letter to President Joseph R. Biden on Wednesday urging him to commit to reaching a goal of zero roadway fatalities by 2050.

“Reaching zero fatalities has been a longtime priority for ATSSA,” said Vice President of Engagement Nate Smith. “Our advocacy work in Washington, D.C. and in state capitals around the country is consistently urging legislators to make progress towards that goal.”

Industry report lays out COVID-19 relief funding to DOTs by state

Latest package sends nearly $10 billion to DOTs across the country

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The latest COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress included nearly $10 billion in federal funds for transportation as reported here last month. The vast majority of that money--$9.8 billion—will go to state departments of transportation (DOTs) across the country.  

Industry publication Construction Dive has now gathered details of the amounts expected to go to each state DOT as well as the DOT for the nation’s capital, and created a chart detailing the allotments. Its report also details how the money will be allotted and indicates that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is to distribute the funds within 30 days of the bill’s signing by former President Donald Trump, which took place Dec. 27.

2021 Convention general sessions will inspire, inform and entertain

Keynote speaker Chad Hymas will share lessons learned about adapting to change following an accident that left him a quadriplegic

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ATSSA’s 51st Annual Convention & Traffic Expo’s general sessions will inspire and inform, including insights from keynote speaker Chad Hymas, who was forced to rework everything in his life after a ranch accident left him a quadriplegic.

Hymas will share about his experience adapting to change and offer lessons on leadership, teamwork and customer service to employ in your workplace.

This year’s general sessions stretch over two days and are jampacked with valuable information including panels on the industry, innovation and government advocacy.

Congressional leaders find deal on COVID-19 relief and federal spending bills

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Leaders of the House and Senate agreed this afternoon to terms on a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package and a $1.4 trillion federal spending package, ending lengthy negotiations that had lasted for months. Included in the COVID relief legislation was $45 billion for transit, with $10 billion allocated to state departments of transportation for highways.

ATSSA has supported the inclusion of funds for state DOTs throughout the year and made it the main legislative priority in any discussions centered around COVID-19 relief. In addition to making it a main talking point at the ATSSA Virtual Fly-In & Legislative Briefing in September, ATSSA also signed on to multiple letters alongside fellow stakeholders to push for Congress to include these funds.

ATSSA urged CDC to include critical infrastructure workers in next COVID vaccination phase

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Despite urging by ATSSA to include road construction workers and the manufacturers of roadway safety devices and construction machinery in phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccination allocation process, a committee of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) denied the request.

Instead, after meeting on Sunday, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to recommend that Americans who are 75 and older and who live independently be included in the next phase of vaccinations. They voted to place the group deemed as essential critical infrastructure in the following phase.

The committee cited the high death rates among elderly Americans, the current short-supply of the vaccine and the smaller size of the group as compared to the DHS-designated group as the reasons for the recommendation. Frontline workers such as emergency responders and teachers were also included in the next phase.  

Biden expected to choose Buttigieg as transportation secretary

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President-elect Joe Biden will be nominating former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), according to multiple reports.

Buttigieg, who is also the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., rose to national prominence after a surging presidential run in his bid for the Democratic nomination earlier this year. Buttigieg appears to have emerged from among contenders for the position such as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

During his presidential campaign, Buttigieg introduced an infrastructure plan that garnered support across the transportation industry.

Senate approves stopgap funding resolution

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Earlier this afternoon, the Senate voted to pass a stopgap Continuing Resolution (CR) that would keep the government funded through December 18 and avoid a potential government shutdown.

The CR now goes to the desk of President Trump, where he is expected to sign it.   Update:  President Trump signed the extension on Friday, Dec. 11.

ATSSA announces strategic reorganization

Realignments and promotions allow ATSSA to better serve membership

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FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (Dec. 7, 2020) – ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner announced a realignment of two of the Association’s vice presidents to better serve its members and most effectively address the multitude of vital issues facing the roadway safety infrastructure industry.

“This decision was made to address the many issues we face as an industry devoted to working toward zero deaths. I wanted to best utilize the talented people we have on our team,” Tetschner said.

Nate Smith’s role will expand to include Member Engagement as he continues leading ATSSA’s Government Relations strategy. Donna Clark becomes Vice President of Education and Technical Services.

Biden transition team focuses on transportation issues

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As President-Elect Joe Biden continues to formulate his policy transition teams, there is a focus on transportation and infrastructure issues. There is a strong indication that infrastructure policies will be an early focus of the Biden Administration.

Today, ATSSA submitted our policy priorities to the transition team, focused on roadway safety infrastructure investments.

“For more than 50 years, ATSSA has focused on reducing roadway fatalities and serious injuries on roads throughout the country,” ATSSA President and CEO Stacy Tetschner stated. “We look forward to working with President-Elect Biden and his infrastructure advisors on ensuing that roadway safety is the focal point on any surface transportation proposals and legislation. As the voice of roadway safety, ATSSA and our members are the go-to resource for policy makers at all levels of government, including the incoming administration and future U.S Department of Transportation appointees.”

FCC votes unanimously to redistribute a portion of the safety spectrum

ATSSA and other roadway safety advocates opposed changes to 5.9 GHz band

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously today to reallocate more than half of the 5.9GHz spectrum band—known as the “safety spectrum”—to unlicensed uses including WiFi.

The new rules adopted today make the lower 45 megahertz of the spectrum available for unlicensed uses. They require Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) licensees to stop using this portion of the spectrum within a year.

ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner called the action "a major blow to the roadway safety community and public safety in general."

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