Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Peter DeFazio (D-OR) released a transportation reauthorization proposal today called Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act (INVEST in America Act). This is an 853-page bill, so it will take some time to go through in detail. NARC will prepare a detailed analysis of the bill as it relates to MPOs, RPOs, and RTPOs, and get it out to members as soon as possible.
A Very Quick Overview
In the meantime, a few things that we know:
- This is a 5-year, $494 billion bill ($319B for highways, $105B for transit, $60B for rail, $10B for passenger and commercial vehicle safety)
- The first year of the bill is an extension of FAST Act policy, with additional funding and flexibility to use the funds for a broader array of activities and at 100% federal share.
- Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STBGP) suballocation is not increased and remains at 55%. Areas with population 50,000-199,999 would have greater say in how STBGP funds are spent.
- The bill intends to provide significant funding for local priorities through two new grant programs, one focused on community transportation priorities and the other on carbon reduction grants. This is in addition to a carbon apportionment program that would be state-directed.
- The bill also creates a program to provide funding for high performing MPOs on a pilot basis; qualifying MPOs could be of any size and would have to demonstrate previous good stewardship of federal funds. The organizations chosen to participate would receive funds directly to spend on local priority projects.
- Transportation Alternatives (TAP) is increased significantly and would be funded at 10% of STBGP. Suballocation of TAP would increase from 50% to 66%.
- Planning funding (PL) is significantly increased, with additional responsibilities for MPOs on greenhouse gas emissions and accessibility issues.
- The existing INFRA program is restructured to include transit, passenger rail, and freight rail and is more like a Projects of National and Regional Significance program.
- Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funding also increases significantly and additional requirements are placed upon states that have higher rates of cyclist and pedestrian deaths and injuries.
Questions? Contact Erich Zimmermann at email@example.com