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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.”

NSC estimates motor vehicle deaths increased 9% in 2021

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The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates total motor vehicle deaths for 2021 increased 9% over 2020 and that mileage rebounded by 11% from the low numbers seen during 2020 at the peak of the COVID-19 lockdowns, according to a report released this morning.

That projection is 3 points below last month’s traffic fatality projection released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and reported here. NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) provides statistical projections for traffic fatalities nationwide, looking at the first nine months of the year in its report that provides an early estimate of motor vehicle traffic fatalities.

NSC estimates 46,020 motor vehicle deaths for all of 2021 compared to its 2020 estimate of 42,339 and its 2019 estimate of 39,107.

OSHA withdraws vaccine and testing mandate, effective Jan. 26

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is withdrawing its vaccination and testing emergency temporary standard, effective Wednesday.

The move follows a Jan. 13 ruling by the Supreme Court blocking a Biden administration effort to require employees of large employers to get a COVID-19 vaccine or undergo weekly testing and wear a mask.

The court ruled 6-3 in the employer case with the court’s conservative majority concluding the administration overstepped its authority by seeking to impose the OSHA vaccine-or-test rule on U.S. businesses with at least 100 employees. More than 80 million people would have been affected.

Supreme Court blocks vaccine mandate for large employers

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The Supreme Court today issued a ruling blocking a Biden administration effort to require employees of large employers to get a COVID-19 vaccine or undergo weekly testing and wear a mask.

The court, however, allowed a vaccine mandate for most U.S. health care workers.

The court ruled 6-3 in the employer case, which applies to organizations with at least 100 employees.

OSHA releases update regarding COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Information follows Friday court decision on OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released an update on the “COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing” Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) in the wake of Friday’s federal court ruling reinstating the Biden administration’s mandate for vaccination or testing.

The ETS applies to employers with 100 or more employees companywide. It states that “covered employers must develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, unless they adopt a policy requiring employees to choose to either be vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work.”

OSHA's statement addresses providing employers time to come into compliance with the ETS requirements.

ATSSA offers resources as vaccine mandates pose challenges

Online resources aid understanding of changing requirements, legal status

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Two years into the global pandemic, businesses face ongoing challenges and uncertainty brought on by COVID-19.

Supply chains are impacted. Workforce issues confront employers of all sizes. And vaccine mandates threaten to intrude on daily operations.

As mandates make their way through the courts, companies are in limbo as they seek to navigate the maze of rules and regulations across the country and at every level of government.

With that in mind, ATSSA assembled key documents and resources to assist members.

Preliminary estimates for first half of 2021 show motor vehicle deaths up again this year

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Preliminary estimates for motor vehicle fatalities for the first six months of 2021 are up 16% over the same period in 2020, the National Safety Council (NSC) reported this morning.

The estimate for the first six months of 2021 is also 17% higher than the 2019 figures, according to NSC, which tracks that and other data on injuries.

The group noted that mileage for the first half of 2021 was up 13% over the low point in 2020 due to COVID-19. However, this year’s mileage was still almost 6% below travel mileage in 2019.

ATSSA asks DOTs for support during tightening of raw materials market

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ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner sent a letter today to directors of state departments of transportation (DOTs) on behalf of the roadway safety infrastructure industry as it struggles with a tightening of the raw materials market.

“Currently, the availability of several key raw materials has tightened in the market from several factors including reduced production from COVID‐19 plant shutdowns and the extreme weather events in the Midwest/Texas in February,” Tetscher says in the letter. “This tightening of raw materials is impacting metals and petroleum‐based products used in the roadway safety industry, including aluminum, steel, plastic, and pavement marking and high friction surface treatment resins.”

He notes that the shrinking supply of these materials has a direct effect on the roadway safety infrastructure industry.

ATSSA urges governors to include roadway workers in Phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccine plan

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ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner sent a letter today to the nation’s governors asking them to include roadway construction personnel and the manufacturers of roadway safety devices and construction machinery in Phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccination plan as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended the group deemed as essential critical infrastructure be included in Phase 1b. Frontline workers such as emergency responders and teachers are also included in this phase.

Roadway infrastructure industry personnel were deemed essential critical infrastructure workers last spring by the Department of Homeland Security. 

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.

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