Transportation Thursdays

NOTE: NARC newsletters are typically uploaded to the website on the Friday of the week they were sent out.


July 13, 2017

THUD Appropriations Bill 
On Tuesday night, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) advanced a spending bill by voice vote to provide $17.8 billion in FY 2018 funding for USDOT. The bill is $646 million less than current levels but is $1.5 billion over what the president requested. The spending measure would eliminate the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program and reduce New Starts funding by $660 million. The full committee is expected to markup the bill next week.

So Long, August Recess
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told lawmakers this week that the Senate will remain in session for the first two weeks of August recess so they can tackle their daunting to-do list. He hopes to tackle the GOP healthcare bill, address the debt ceiling, and process nominees from the administration. The House Freedom Caucus has also pushed for the House to delay recess. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has said that he will keep the House in session if the Senate passes the Affordable Care Act repeal.

Movement on AV Bill Package
House Republicans are expected to introduce bills this week that would remove obstacles to putting autonomous vehicles on the road and ban states from setting their own rules. Last month, the House Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee held a hearing on a draft package of 14 bills to relax National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rules by preventing the agency from pre-approving self-driving cars and allowing U.S. regulators to exempt up to 100,000 vehicles a year per manufacturer from the rules. The bills are likely to have a formal hearing next week.

House Bill Delaying EPA Ozone Rule
The House Rules Committee is likely to meet next week to adopt floor consideration rules for a bill that would delay Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ozone standards until 2025. The Ozone Standards Implementation Act (H.R. 806) would roll back EPA attainment designations for its latest ozone air quality benchmark, which has been a priority of the new administration.

USDOT Advances Rail Plan for Northeast Corridor
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has released their Northeast Corridor (NEC) FUTURE Record of Decision (ROD), which establishes a long-term strategy for the NEC and marks the completion of the Tier 1 environmental review process. Developed with NEC states, local communities, and railroads, the NEC FUTURE ROD lays out a variety of potential ways to improve passenger rail service, including increasing the number of regional commuter trains, adding track capacity, and integrating ticketing. The NEC FUTURE ROD does not include funding recommendations, which are a local responsibility, but estimates that the total cost for all projects in the record are between $121 billion and $153 billion.

USDOT Announces $226.5 Million in Funding to Improve Transit Bus Service
Applications Due: August 25
FTA announced yesterday the opportunity for $226.5 million in competitive grant funding for transit bus projects under the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Infrastructure Investment Program. Eligible projects include those that replace, rehabilitate, lease, and purchase buses and related equipment as well as projects to purchase, rehabilitate, construct, or lease bus-related facilities. The program allocates a minimum of ten percent to rural bus needs.

National Coalition on Truck Parking Report
USDOT and several stakeholder organizations established the National Coalition on Truck Parking in August 2015 as a response to a need for truck parking solutions. Stakeholders in the coalition represent the trucking industry, commercial vehicle safety officials, state DOTs, and commercial truck stop owners and operators. The National Coalition on Truck Parking Activity Report, 2015-2016 documents the first year of coalition activities and provides recommendations to address truck parking problems across the nation.

FAA Announces Airport Improvement Program Grantees
FAA has announced 107 airports in 40 states that will receive part of the $185.1 million in airport infrastructure grants to help maintain the safety of the nation’s airports. The airport grant program funds various types of airport infrastructure projects, including runways, taxiways, airport signage, lighting, and markings that help create thousands of jobs.

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Impact of Future Technology in the 2045 LRTP Study
The Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization commissioned a study to examine existing and future technologies that will impact their 2045 long-range transportation plan and provide recommendations for incorporating technology. The report went through each time period until 2045 and predicted developments on a variety of topics. The report suggested that the TPO should update its travel demand model and explore new funding concepts to ensure successful incorporation of new technology.

Preparing Counties for the Future of Transportation: A Spotlight on Connected and Autonomous Vehicles
The National Association of Counties has prepared a one-page overview of autonomous and connected vehicles and technology. The document offers steps county leaders can take to prepare for the technology, such as drafting local policies, identifying industry growth potential and workforce training opportunities, and assembling a task force of stakeholders.

View full list of jobs!

Transportation Modeler/Analyst
Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, Philadelphia, PA
Senior Transportation Planner
Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, Philadelphia, PA

Alamo Service Connection Housing Navigator
Alamo Area Council of Governments, San Antonio, TX

Emergency Services Administrative Assistant
Central Texas Council of Governments, Belton, TX

Planner I
Palm Beach Metropolitan Planning Organization, West Palm Beach, FL

Director of Transportation
Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, Portage, IN

Regional Planner/Policy Analyst
Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, Portage, IN

Head of Finance and Administration 
Mid-America Regional Council, Kansas City, MO

View full list of grants and events!

Engaging with UC Davis’ National Center for Sustainable Transportation
July 18, 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET
NARC will host a webinar/call and dialogue with Laura Podolsky, policy director at the National Center for Sustainable Transportation (NCST), to introduce NARC members to a potential resource for information, research, and educational opportunities. Podolsky will provide a quick overview of USDOT’s University Transportation Center (UTC) program and NCST, highlight some of NCST’s recently completed research and new research kicking off this fall, and share opportunities for engaging in NCST’s research and related activities. Plenty of time will be available for questions and dialogue on the most pressing challenges, information gaps, and research needs faced by NARC members. Your feedback will help inform future NCST research and educational initiatives. Erich Zimmermann, NARC’s transportation director, serves on NCST’s Leadership Council.

Regulatory, Policy, and Planning Issues and Needs for Truck Automation
July 19, 1:00 – 2:30 PM ET
The development and deployment of automated trucks is quickly becoming one of the most closely examined developments in the trucking industry, both from the carriers’ perspective and the government’s perspective. It is unclear how long it will take for driving technology assisted trucks to become commonplace on U.S. highways, but it appears likely these trucks will become common at some point in the future. However, while there is an increasing amount of research being done on automated trucks and strong interest from many stakeholders in learning about these technologies, there has been relatively little research conducted on the regulations, policies, and planning issues that will be needed to guide the development of driving technology assisted trucks. This webinar will examine various perspectives on the policies, regulations, and planning considerations governments can implement to appropriately manage truck carriers’ gradual deployment of automated trucks.

NPMRDS Users Quarterly Technical Assistance Webinar
July 20, 1:00 – 3:00 PM ET
The next National Performance Management Research Data Set (NPMRDS) webinar will focus on details of the new data set. The new NPMRDS provides average travel times on the National Highway System (NHS) and is used in calculating four of the measures in the System Performance/Freight/CMAQ performance measures final rule, which became effective on May 20, 2017. Learn how to access data and data license details, and hear about the significant improvements made to this version of the NPMRDS, including linkages to 15 HPMS attributes to support the calculation of performance measures.

Call for TRB Military Transportation Poster Abstracts
Submission Due: August 31
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) Military Transportation Committee (AT035) is now accepting abstracts for poster presentation at the TRB Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. on January 7-11, 2018. The committee would like you to share “fresh ideas” for military transportation at a poster session and potentially at the AT035 committee meeting.

12th TRB Access Management Conference Call for Abstracts/ Save the Date
July 17-19, 2018 – Madison, WI
Call for Abstracts Due: September 1
Presentations/papers for commercial or special interest/advocacy purposes will not be considered. Abstract Requirements:

  • Presentation Title
  • Presenter(s) contact information: name, organization, address, email, and phone number
  • General topic area of the abstract
  • Abstract shall not exceed 250 words
  • Abstract shall be written in simple, concise, and effective English
  • Data and conclusions should be complete, valid, appropriate, and properly supported




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