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Transportation Committee Newsletter | April 5, 2024

April 5, 2024

In the below Transportation Committee newsletter, you will find some of the latest transportation policy issues NCSL is following in Washington, D.C. If you have questions about any of the stories below, please contact NCSL using the email icon at left.  

You Are Invited to the Transportation Webinar Series 

NCSL’s Transportation Committee is pleased to invite you to its first annual Spring Webinar Series. The series consists of three webinars from April 4 through May 23. All webinars will take place on Thursdays at 3 p.m. ET. Please see the webinar dates below. Register for as many webinars as your schedule permits and share the registration link among your colleagues and partners. Recordings of webinars that have already taken place will be available soon on the NCSL website. 


NCSL, at the request of congressional staff, sent a letter to congressional leadership providing an overview of NCSL’s policy on Autonomous Vehicles (AVs). Rising usage of AVs has the potential to both revolutionize personal mobility and provide immeasurable safety benefits and NCSL is committed to working with Congress to ensure states’ voices are represented. As federal, state and local governments all play a role in regulating vehicles that operate on public roads, there is a need to clearly define each level of government’s role in the operation of AVs while avoiding additional preemption of state authority and burdensome unfunded federal mandates.  

Top Transportation Stories 

Congress Fully Funds the Government and Extends FAA Authorization Through May 

Congress has fully funded the Government through the end of the 2024 fiscal year. On March 8, Congress passed six of the 12 appropriations bills—Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, Agriculture-FDA, Transportation-Housing and Urban Development, Energy-Water Development, Interior-Environment and Commerce-Justice-Science—to fully fund the relevant federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Energy. The remaining six appropriation bills—Defense, Legislative Branch, Financial Services-General Government, Homeland Security, Labor-Education-Health & Human Services and State-Foreign Operations—were passed on March 22.  

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also received a third short-term extension, the Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2024 (P.L. 118-41), which extended its authorities through May 10. The Senate continues to debate FAA reauthorization bill language, FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023 (S.1939) while the House passed its own FAA reauthorization legislation, Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act (H.R. 3935) in September 2023. NCSL sent a letter to Congress urging the swift bipartisan passage of long-term FAA reauthorization legislation in December 2023.  

Major Funding for Public Transit 

The Federal Transit Administration, under the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced a $9.9 billion investment in public transit across the nation. This funding, which is a part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, will be formulaically distributed to every state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Projects funded by this investment are expected to include development of new transit corridors, maintenance and operation of public transportation facilities, and upgrades to improve transit accessibility. Apportionment tables specify how the funding will be allocated under 20 statutory requirements within the state’s distribution, including funds for urbanized areas, tribal governments, mobility for seniors and those with disabilities, ferries, and infrastructure grants. 

Reducing the Carbon Impacts of the Transportation Sector  

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has announced $1.2 billion in available grant funding to help address carbon emissions caused by the transportation sector. The funding, which will be distributed through the Low Carbon Transportation Materials program, is intended to incentivize the use of American-made low carbon materials and products in transportation industry projects. The first $1.2 billion round of funding will be solely available to states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico via a Request for Applications. A second smaller tranche of funding is expected later this year, which will be open to tribes, metropolitan planning organizations and other relevant entities. This new program received its funding from the Inflation Reduction Act and is part of the DOT’s wider Buy Clean Initiative.  

Buy America: Eliminating the Manufactured Products General Waiver 

The Manufactured Products General Waiver has allowed the federal government and state departments of transportation to purchase and use products in federally funded highway projects that were not made domestically for over 40 years. The FHWA has released a proposed rule that, if finalized, would eliminate this waiver and create new standards for purchasing and utilizing domestically manufactured products. This proposed rule, was developed in response to President Biden’s Executive Order 14005, which mandated an increase in federal government support for domestic manufacturing and the development of domestic supply chains by requiring the federal government and federally funded projects to use domestic products wherever possible. The proposed rule is not expected to impact the use or sourcing of iron or steel products or any Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act “Buy America” requirements. Critics of the proposed rule cite the lack of domestic availability of some manufactured goods and delays that may be caused by sourcing issues. The FHWA is expected to issue a request for information to help determine what the availability is for relevant commonly used manufactured products. 

Short but Sweet, More News Below 


  • FHWA has proposed a new rule that would update the Highway Safety Improvement Program by mandating state-level system-wide safety risk assessments and inclusion of vulnerable road user safety assessments in state strategic highway safety plans. The proposed rule, which is intended to bring states into alignment with the DOT’s National Safety Strategy, would also update and streamline reporting requirements. Read More
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is seeking applicants for $350 million in available Safety Data Transfer grants. This funding is a part of the agency’s efforts to modernize state crash data systems and ensure implementation of state to federal electronic data transfer capabilities. Read More 
  • To decrease road congestion and address vehicular air pollution, the FHWA is making $250 million in competitive grants available over the next five years under the Congestion Relief Program. Learn More
  • Applications are open for $44.5 million in public transportation grants under the new Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program. The FHWA is intending to fund improvement projects focusing on increasing pedestrian and biking access. Learn More
  • The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation has launched a new webpage to provide resources for workforce development activities associated with the ongoing electrification transition of transportation industry. Learn More.  
  • FHWA has released a new notice of funding opportunity for the Strategic Innovation for Revenue Collection (SIRC) program. This funding is intended to help states survey drivers, research alternative funding user fees and conduct pilot programs. Learn More


  • Ports across the nation can now apply for $3 billion in grants through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Ports Program. Funding is intended to help ports transition to zero-emission facilities as a part of the administration’s decarbonization goals. Funding can be used to invest in zero-emission equipment, air quality improvement, and infrastructure implementation. Read More
  • $450 million is available in competitive grants to help state and local governments finish construction of critical ports and related infrastructure. This Port Infrastructure Development Program funding is intended to help improve the speed and mobility of goods through the Nation’s port system. Learn More


  • The FAA has announced $13.5 million in grants for 32 educational institutions across the country to help train the next generation of the aviation industry’s workforce. Read More
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