ATSSA Blog

ATSSA’s 2021 Midyear Meeting gets underway in Missouri

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ATSSA’s 2021 Midyear Meeting kicks off this afternoon in Kansas City, Mo.

More than 300 people have registered for the event that runs through Friday and is being held in hybrid fashion with some attending in person at the Loews Kansas City Hotel and others taking part online.

The week includes the first meeting of the Roadway Worker Protection Council, which takes place Wednesday and evolved from a Roadway Worker Protection Summit held during this year’s Convention and Traffic Expo.

Senate passes bipartisan infrastructure package

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The Senate today passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The $1.2 trillion plan includes the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act (STRA) that passed through the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee earlier this year.

“ATSSA applauds the passage of this historic investment in roads, bridges and safety,” ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner said. “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will allow ATSSA members to undertake even more lifesaving work on America’s roadways. We are encouraged by the work done in a bipartisan manner in the Senate and strongly urge the House to follow their lead in implementing a robust, long-term and safety-focused infrastructure plan.”

The House will need to also pass the infrastructure plan for it to go into effect. However, members on both sides of the aisle have expressed a weariness toward the Senate version. It is unclear what the plan forward is on the legislation.

New federal rule for entry-level CDL training goes into effect in February

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New federal requirements for entry-level driver training for the commercial driver license (CDL) go into effect on Feb. 7.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations for entry-level driver training (ELDT) for CDL licenses were mandated under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21 Century Act (MAP-21).

ELDT regulations establish the baseline for training required for entry-level drivers. They apply to anyone:

  • seeking a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time
  • upgrading an existing Class B CDL to Class A CDL
  • obtaining a first-time school bus (S), passenger (P) or hazardous materials (H) endorsement.

Final action on a Senate infrastructure package could be a week away

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Senate action Wednesday night on a bipartisan infrastructure package starts the clock on the issue but a final vote on the Senate floor could be at least a week away.

The Senate voted 67-32 Wednesday night to proceed to debate on the bipartisan infrastructure package that has been agreed to by a group of 22 Republican and Democrat senators, known as the G-22. Seventeen Republican senators voted to advance the measure. The Biden administration also supported it.

If passed, the legislation would then head to the House, where members of both parties have expressed concerns with the package as constructed.

Iowa’s smart use of arrow boards featured in new issue of Roadway Safety magazine

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In Iowa, arrow boards—a ubiquitous piece of equipment in many work zones—are serving as a testing ground for data-sharing protocols that transportation officials hope will help reduce crashes and fatalities in work zones by providing road users with real-time information of lane closures.

Read about the evolution of smart arrow boards, gain insights from the team at the Institute for Transportation (InTrans) at Iowa State University and learn the role ATSSA member Jeff Koudelka of Iowa Plains Signing Inc. played in the rollout of the roadway safety devices in the Summer 2021 issue of Roadway Safety magazine, available online today.

House passes surface transportation reauthorization

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The House of Representatives passed the INVEST in America Act earlier today by a margin of 221-201. The legislation passed on a mostly party line vote, with two Republicans—Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Rep Chris Smith (R-NJ)—voting in support of the legislation.

The five-year, $715 billion package includes $343 billion for roads, bridges and safety, with $15.9 billion of that dedicated to the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP).

With this legislation passing the full House, attention now turns to the Senate where, earlier this year, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee passed its version of this bill, known as the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act (STRA) of 2021. 

White House unveils bipartisan infrastructure framework

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Earlier this afternoon, President Biden announced that an agreement on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure framework had been made between the White House and members of the Senate from both parties. This bipartisan plan lays out an additional $579 billion in new spending, with $109 billion allocated towards roads, bridges and major projects and another $11 billion marked for safety.

Midyear Meeting adds Roadway Worker Protection session to agenda

New topic results from Roadway Worker Protection Summit during ATSSA’s 2021 Convention

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This year’s Midyear Meeting adds a new council focused on roadway worker protection to the lineup.

The addition evolved from the Roadway Worker Protection Summit, which was heavily attended during ATSSA’s 2021 Annual Convention & Traffic Expo held online in February, said ATSSA Vice President of Education and Technical Services Donna Clark.

She said the topic resonates with everyone in the roadway safety industry and, unfortunately, the statistics on injuries and deaths aren’t improving.

Congressional Road Safety Caucus puts spotlight on safety

Transportation and safety proposals this year offer optimism for roadway safety advocates

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One of the ways members of Congress shine a light on a specific issue is through the formation of congressional caucuses. Reps. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) and Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) have done exactly that in creating the bipartisan Congressional Road Safety Caucus this year.

One of the first steps came on April 14, when Reps. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.) and Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) introduced the High Risk Rural Roads Safety Grant Program Act in the House. The Act would create a new competitive grant program for local jurisdictions and tribal nations to focus federal funding on rural and tribal road safety projects.

Funded at $600 million annually, this proposal would give a needed boost to targeting safety challenges on these rural and tribal roadways.

Other roadway safety proposals are also being considered on Capitol Hill.

House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee passes surface transportation authorization proposal

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Early this morning, the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee passed a five-year, $548 billion surface transportation authorization proposal out of committee, mostly on a party-line vote.

Two Republican members of the committee, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (R-Puerto Rico), crossed over and voted with the Democrats. The legislation, named the INVEST in America Act, passed out of the committee after a marathon session that began Wednesday morning and finished around 5 a.m. today. Both Democrats and Republicans offered hundreds of amendments during the process.

This proposal includes funding titles for highways – including roadway safety infrastructure, bridges, transit and passenger and freight rail. By and large, the legislation and the process were derided as partisan by Republican committee members.

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