Congress is in session.
Update on Transportation Rescission
Given the level of interest in last week’s article about the FAST Act rescission, a quick update. Congress has not yet taken action to reverse the rescission or indicated whether it will. Many in Washington, however, are working to ensure Congress understands the importance of acting as swiftly as possible to ensure states do not lose $7.6 billion in contract authority. To that end, NARC joined a letter spearheaded by the Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). If your organization is concerned about the impacts of the rescission, you are encouraged to reach out to your member of Congress and make your feelings known. We’ll provide additional updates as they become available.
Infrastructure, Transportation Reauthorization Measures Back in Discussion
House Democrats are reportedly preparing another run at a significant infrastructure package. According to Politico, the bill will be a combination of measures that are typically passed on their own, including surface transportation reauthorization and water resources bill, combined with broadband, pipelines, and possibly schools, housing, and parks. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) is presenting an outline of his reauthorization bill to the Democratic caucus today and expressed his hope to be in conference with the Senate on a bill by next spring.
Congress Plans to Punt Government Shutdown Deadline to Dec. 20
Congress plans to extend government funding through December 20, averting the risk of a shutdown next week but setting up for a potential spending fight before the end of the year. Democratic House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Republican Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) settled on the time frame for the short-term spending measure in a meeting on Tuesday. The House will vote on the stopgap measure next week before government funding runs out November 21. The top federal appropriators also discussed an extension into January or later, but ultimately decided on a shorter continuing resolution to keep the pressure on for a full-year spending bill.
Committee Announces Hearing on Automated Vehicles
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) announced the Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 10:00AM ET titled, “Highly Automated Vehicles: Federal Perspectives on the Deployment of Safety Technology.” The hearing will examine the perspectives of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Transportation Safety Board on the safe testing and deployment of highly autonomous vehicles (AVs). Witnesses will discuss recommendations for realizing the potential safety, mobility, and efficiency benefits of AVs.
Joe Biden Releases Infrastructure Proposal
Joe Biden’s presidential campaign yesterday released a $1.3 trillion infrastructure proposal that stresses job creation, climate sustainability, and community revitalization as its main areas of focus. The proposal invests in a range of infrastructure, including transportation, resilience, broadband, energy, water, and schools. The plan makes specific mention of the regional planning can play in supporting transit and other smart growth concepts.