Smith: ATSSA members’ diligence made a difference with IIJA

ATSSA Town Hall breaks down details of the infrastructure bill

ATSSA Vice President of Engagement Nate Smith told ATSSA members today that their diligence over the past 15 to 20 years played a significant role in the funding coming to roadway safety under the new infrastructure law.

“You all should pat yourselves on the back,” Smith said during an ATSSA Town Hall to discuss the impact of the bipartisan infrastructure bill that was signed into law on Monday. “This is a job well done.”

Following a late-night vote by the House of Representatives on Nov. 5, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) moved to the White House where President Joe Biden signed it on Monday.

The Senate approved the bill in August in a 69-30 vote with 19 Republicans supporting it. The House vote of 228-206 included support from 13 GOP members and opposition from six Democrats.

The $1.2 trillion measure is a historic investment in transportation funding and includes a 5-year, $304 billion investment in roads and bridges, Smith said. He noted that’s a 34% increase over current spending for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) and translates into $16.8 billion over five years for the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP).

Smith said he’s confident the HSIP funding will mean additional opportunities for ATSSA members.

“The HSIP program is dramatically increased and really is going to have a dramatic effect on saving lives, reducing fatalities and serious injuries, and expanding your business,” he said. “I’m absolutely, 100 percent certain that you’re going to see significantly more work flowing—if you’re a contractor or you’re a manufacturer—because of this specific program here.”

Smith noted that the package doubles funding for tribal road safety, increasing it to $120 million, which offers an opportunity for ATSSA members.

In addition, he noted the package sets aside $300 million over five years for rural road safety, which is a competitive grant program through the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and addresses safety programs for lane departure.

“It doesn’t get any more ATSSA-specific than that,” Smith said.

Also today, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg spoke at a National League of Cities event and said USDOT would work to be "equally available and user friendly" to communities of all sizes in distributing funding under the infrastructure law, according to a Route Fifty news report.

A recording of today’s ATSSA Town Hall, which includes a breakdown of the infrastructure package by ATSSA’s Government Relations Team, is expected to be available within a week. Check here for the recording.

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