Skip to main content

Transportation Committee Newsletter | May 3, 2024

May 3, 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 to the 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. 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 are available on the NCSL website. 

Top Transportation Stories

DOT Announces $5B for Transformative Infrastructure Projects

The Department of Transportation has opened applications for $5.1 billion in transportation project funding that will be made available through the National Infrastructure Project Assistance, Infrastructure for Rebuilding America and Rural Surface Transportation Grant programs under a streamlined competitive grant process. The funding is intended to support regionally and nationally significant transportation projects, with eligible projects including large and complex, and thus difficult to fund, highways, bridges, tunnels, ports, multimodal freight, passenger rail and other public transportation projects. Applications for this funding will close on May 6.

Pilot Program to Promote Racial Equity

The Reconnecting Communities program has been launched by the DOT to help address previous community inequities caused by interstate highway system development. This $1 billion program will help state and local governments reconnect disadvantaged communities divided by highways and other large infrastructure projects. The first $195 million of competitive funding is expected to be awarded this year, and the remaining funding will be made available over the next four years. The agency anticipates that selected entities will use this funding to develop new connectivity projects, such as new bike lanes and pedestrian paths, repurposing former rail lines, and even the partial removal of highways. The funding for this program was provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

FAA Authorization Set to Expire

The Federal Aviation Administration's third short-term extension, the Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2024 (P.L. 118-41), is set to expire on May 10. If a reauthorization bill or another extension is not passed, many FAA activities would be suspended including the collection of fees from airlines and the hiring of new air traffic controllers. The Senate continues to work on its version of the FAA reauthorization bill, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023 (S.1939), while the House passed its own FAA reauthorization legislation, the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act (HR 3935) in September 2023. Congressional leaders remain optimistic a bill will be passed by the May 10 deadline. NCSL sent a letter to Congress urging the swift bipartisan passage of long-term FAA reauthorization legislation in December 2023.

Short but Sweet, More News Below!

Roadways

  • $830 million has been awarded under the DOT's Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-saving Transportation Discretionary Grant Program. This funding will be used for projects that strengthen and insulate surface transportation systems against impacts caused by extreme weather.
  • A $57.7 million Notice of Funding Opportunity has been issued by the DOT's Innovate Finance and Asset Concessions Grant Program to assist public agencies with increasing and enhancing technical capacity to enable the leveraging of public-private partnerships to deliver projects.
  • The DOT has made its first major update to the Federal Transit Administration's Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans regulation, which helps protect the safety of transit workers and passengers. These changes, which impact over 700 transit agencies nationwide, include increasing worker involvement in safety and interagency communication and mandating the use of data to identify and manage safety risks.

Waterways

  • The FTA is making $316 million available through the Passenger Ferry Program, the Electric or Low Emitting Ferry Program, and the Ferry Service for Rural Communities Program. The funding is meant to help communities modernize passenger ferry services.
  • The Biden administration has announced a new national objective to make all freight in the truck, rail, aviation and marine spaces zero-emissions by 2050. Under this new strategy, $1.5 billion in funding is being injected into several federal programs, including programs to replace heavy-duty vehicles with zero-emission vehicles and grants to help states reduce pollution in and around ports from idling trucks.

Rails

  • The Federal Railroad Administration has released a $2.4 billion Notice of Funding Opportunity under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program. This funding is open to states to help improve railroad safety, address railway congestion and chokepoints, enhance connection and lead to new or improved Intercity Passenger Rail Transportation corridors.
  • The DOT is furthering its development of the National Multimodal Freight Network by issuing a Request for Information on goals, criteria thresholds, and measurable data sources for designating the network. The information collected will help the agency identify freight facilities and corridors for the development of a network map that will eventually be used to inform federal investment decisions.

Skys

  • $269 million in supplemental discretionary grants is now available through the FAA's Airport Improvement Program. Eligible projects under the program, which is intended to improve airport infrastructure, now include sustainable aviation fuel distribution, blending and storage infrastructure projects.

NCSL News and Resources

  • Check Out NCSL's Transportation Legislative Databases! Did you know NCSL staff maintain four legislative databases on transportation topics? Whether it's traffic safety, transportation funding and financing, autonomous vehicles or 911 issues, NCSL has you covered.
  • 911 systems are essential for providing efficient and effective emergency services, including aiding people involved in motor vehicle crashes. This annual report summarizes notable enacted bills addressing topics such as training standards for 911 telecommunicators, reclassifying telecommunicators as first responders and implementing Next Generation 911 technology.
  • Aggressive driving and street racing have plagued roadways since 2020. States are taking legislative action to penalize aggressive drivers and mitigate street racing and other dangerous exhibitions. Check out the Transportation team's recent brief.
Loading
  • Contact NCSL

  • For more information on this topic, use this form to reach NCSL staff.