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Congressional leaders find deal on COVID-19 relief and federal spending bills

Leaders of the House and Senate agreed this afternoon to terms on a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package and a $1.4 trillion federal spending package, ending lengthy negotiations that had lasted for months. Included in the COVID relief legislation was $45 billion for transit, with $10 billion allocated to state departments of transportation for highways.

ATSSA has supported the inclusion of funds for state DOTs throughout the year and made it the main legislative priority in any discussions centered around COVID-19 relief. In addition to making it a main talking point at the ATSSA Virtual Fly-In & Legislative Briefing in September, ATSSA also signed on to multiple letters alongside fellow stakeholders to push for Congress to include these funds.

ATSSA Vice President of Engagement Nate Smith applauded the funding for roadway safety.

“The inclusion of $10 billion for highway projects in the COVID-19 relief package is a big step forward in ensuring that safety projects can continue uninterpreted in 2021,” Smith said. “Congressional recognition of the need to continue investing in America’s infrastructure is, hopefully, a harbinger of positive progress ahead as the 117th Congress works on a highway bill reauthorization in 2021.”

Also included are the annual transportation appropriations, which lays out $75 billion for the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) for FY21. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) would receive $49 billion, which is $166 million less than the enacted FY20 budget. Included in the FHWA budget is $2 billion for discretionary highway infrastructure programs, which was not included in the president’s proposed budget.

The bills will receive a vote later tonight by both chambers of Congress.

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