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ATSSA urges DOTs to support a standardized form for QPL and APL

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ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner reached out to the leaders of departments of transportation (DOTs) in all 50 states asking for their support for a standardized form for the Qualified Products List (QPL) and the Approved Products List (APL).

In a letter, Tetschner explains that a standardized form would help roadway safety products get to market faster by streamlining the current burdensome process of making a different application for every DOT across the country.

"If you are not aware, each DOT manages its QPL/APL submittals, reviews and approvals differently and this means each company wishing to see a product added to the list must go through the process 50 times, frequently in different ways with different forms, resulting in a very time-consuming, labor-intensive process,” Tetschner states in the letter. “This burdensome process delays getting new and improved products onto the roadways where they could save lives.”

The letter is signed by the president of each of ATSSA’s Chapters, which represent 1,500 member companies from across the country as well as many public agencies.

ATSSA joins effort asking Congress to amend ARP to release relief funds

Groups seek ability to use allocated funds for transportation projects

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ATSSA joined the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) and 26 other groups asking leaders in the House and Senate to pass legislation that would amend the American Rescue Plan (ARP).

The groups sent a letter on Tuesday asking Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to act on legislation (S. 3011 and H.R. 5735) that would give states and localities greater flexibility to use a larger portion of ARP funds needed for transportation projects.

“The American Rescue Plan (ARP) provided states and localities with $350 billion in relief funds and $10 billion in capital improvement assistance at a time of critical need. The COVID-19 pandemic ripped a gaping hole in the budgets of many state and local governments, making this assistance crucial as the nation’s economic recovery continues,” the letter states.

It goes on to explain that more than $100 billion remains unobligated and yet “the funds lack the flexibility necessary for states and localities to address ongoing transportation needs.”

ATSSA co-leads effort asking Yellen for relief on supply chain challenges

19 associations engaged in infrastructure work seek ARPA funds to help with soaring prices

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ATSSA is one of 19 organizations asking Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to clarify that American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds can be used to help subcontractors and suppliers that are struggling due to supply chain issues brought on by the pandemic.

“At this critical time, as Congress has passed the historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) that will provide impactful infrastructure investment to the nation, we request relief for government agencies and businesses who have and continue to face unprecedented pandemic-induced supply chain delays and shortages that may undercut the anticipated benefits of the IIJA investment,” according to the letter sent to Yellen on Monday.

ATSSA, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the American Road &Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) led the effort that was joined by 15 other organizations.

AASHTO and FHWA release answers to help implement MASH

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The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on Monday announced the release of  responses to three questions regarding testing of roadway safety hardware under the Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH), 2016.

The guidance is available online and includes all new and prior questions and answers dating to May 2018.

A joint AASHTO/FHWA technical working group developed the latest responses, which are created to help manufacturers, crash test laboratories and transportation agencies apply the guidelines to roadway safety devices.

US Court of Appeals sets oral argument date for FCC case

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The U.S. Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on Jan. 25 in the case of multiple transportation organizations to block a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) order to redistribute a portion of the safety spectrum.

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) appealed the FCC’s Nov. 18, 2020 order to reallocate a portion of the 5.9 GHz spectrum band to unlicensed uses including WiFi.

The FCC voted unanimously 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.

AASHTO council unanimously supports resolution to convert MASH into a performance spec

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AASHTO’s Council on Highways and Streets voted Wednesday to support a resolution to convert the Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) to a specification.

The vote took place during the Council’s meeting as part of AASHTO’s annual meeting in San Diego.

AASHTO maintains MASH and commissioned the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) to conduct a scoping study on the idea of converting MASH 2016 to a specification. The study was completed this year, according to a presentation by Maine Department of Transportation Chief Engineer Joyce Taylor, who serves as vice chair of AASHTO’s Committee on Design. The association also held two webinars in June with state and industry officials to address opportunities and challenges the conversion would bring.

The move to convert MASH into a performance specification is aimed at “developing a more consistent testing of roadside hardware,” according to the Council on Highways and Streets resolution.

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.

AASHTO hosting webinars on results of study on converting MASH to performance-based spec

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The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is hosting two June webinars to review the results of a study commissioned to explore the possibility of converting the Manual on Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) 2016 to a performance-based specification.

AASHTO hired the Texas A&M Transportation Institute to do a scoping study to assess the effort, timeline and needs required if the change was undertaken. Results of the study will be presented at two webinars, which will include time for questions. Registration is now open.

MASH scoping study discussed during AASHTO Virtual Spring Meeting 2021

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During AASHTO's 2021 Virtual Spring Meeting on Monday, the Council on Highways and Streets (CHS) gathered to provide updates from various stakeholders. The discussion included an update on the Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) scoping study to determine the feasibility and potential next steps to convert MASH into a set of performance specifications.

Joyce Taylor from the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT), who serves as design vice chair with AASHTO, gave an update on the MASH scoping study conducted by Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI). She discussed the challenges related to current testing procedures and the gray areas within the existing manual that lead to a lack of consistency, as testing may be conducted differently by facilities.

The scoping study, conducted by TTI and sponsored by AASHTO, was completed in April.

CAT Coalition working group shares research on AV issues, primer plans

Participants share impacts of AVs on highway infrastructure and report on U.S. readiness

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Members of the Cooperative Automated Transportation Coalition Infrastructure-Industry (CAT I-I) Working Group shared recently that they are assembling a primer with acronyms and definitions for autonomous vehicle (AV) and connected vehicle (CV) infrastructure and technology.

The primer is not the first of its kind but intended to “bridge the gap” between Infrastructure Owner-Operators (IOOs) and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) practitioners, according to the CAT I-I working group members.

The working group's recent meeting also included presentations by Ted Hamer, managing director at KPMG Corporate Finance, and Paul Carlson, chief technology officer at Road Infrastructure Inc.

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