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Transportation Standing Committee Newsletter - March 8, 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 reach out to Ben Nasta ( or Megan Bland (

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. EST. Please see the webinar dates and times below. Registration links will be available soon on the NCSL website.

  • April 4 - All Aboard: Expanding Passenger Rail Transit Capacity
  • May 16 - Alternative Transportation User Fees at the State Level
  • May 23 - States in Action: Addressing America’s Traffic Safety Crisis

Top Transportation Stories

Averting A Government Shutdown…Again

Congress has averted a partial government shutdown by passing a fourth short-term continuing resolution to keep the relevant federal agencies, including the Department of Transportation, funded through March 8. This new continuing resolution (H.R. 7463) affects the four appropriation bills that were set to expire at midnight on March 1, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, Agriculture-FDA, Transportation-Housing and Urban Development, and Energy-Water Development. Two of the appropriation bills, Interior-Environment and Commerce-Justice-Science, will retain their expiration date of March 8. The remaining six appropriation bills set to expire on March 8 were extended until March 22.

The Federal Aviation Administration is also facing an authority lapse or another short-term extension as the continuing resolution (H.R. 6503) for current operations expires today, March 8. Congress is considering another extension (H.R. 7454) that would extend authorities through May 10, and would avoid suspending pay for working air traffic controllers and shutting down FAA training centers. The Senate continues to debate FAA reauthorization bill language, FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023 (S.1939). 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.

Investing In American Aviation Infrastructure

The FAA is making significant investments in airport infrastructure. The Airport Terminal Program created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), has awarded $970 million to airports in almost every state and U.S. territory. This funding, which is a part of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda, is intended to facilitate job development and support investments at airports to improve the passenger experience, accessibility and sustainability. Additionally, the FAA has announced the release of $243 million in new IIJA funding through the Airport Infrastructure Grants program to airports across the country to invest in infrastructure modernization. Projects include safety enhancements, improvements to runways, construction or improvement of fuel farms and the purchase of rescue and firefighting equipment.

Major Funding for Roadway Safety Improvements

The DOT is opening a competitive grant application for $1.25 billion of IIJA funding to enable state, local and tribal governmental entities to improve roadway safety through local project implementation. The project funding, which will be distributed though the Safe Streets and Roads for All grant program created by IIJA, is intended to help communities develop road safety action plans, test roadway safety features and improve unsafe roadway corridors. This program is a part of the DOT’s National Road Safety Strategy and builds off of the $1 billion issued in 2023. Applications are due May 16.

New Funding to Improve Traffic Safety Data Collection Systems

A new competitive grant application has been launched by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to distribute $350 million to states, territories and the Secretary of the Interior (acting on behalf of a tribe) to modernize state crash data systems and enable data transfers to NHTSA to help the agency better develop policy, deploy of response strategies and countermeasures and direct research. This grant program was authorized under the IIJA and applications are open until May 1.

Short but Sweet, More News Below!


  • As a part of ongoing efforts to improve safety the DOT is making $15 million available through the Small Business Innovation Research Program to help American small businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence to improve transportation. This funding is intended to help develop a tool that would allow state, local and tribal transportation agencies to better develop and implement safer street and transportation networks. Lean More.
  • $1.5 billion in IIJA grant funding is now available through the DOT’s Federal Transit Administration to help state and local transit agencies invest in new cleaner bus fleets. Read More.
  • New IIJA grant funding has been released by the DOT to develop solutions for the reduction of traffic congestion in urban areas. The $250 million in available funding will be distributed through competitive grants over the next five years. Learn More.


  • Amtrak has announced several initiatives, including a $5.5 billion investment in infrastructure upgrades to help boost the passenger rail service and increase ridership to 66 million annually by 2040. Read More.
  • The High-Hazard Flammable Train Route Assessment & Legacy Tank Car Focused Inspection Program Summary Report has been released by the Federal Railroad Administration. The report, initiated after the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment in February 2023, analyzes the national routes on which large volumes of hazardous materials are transported by rail companies and provides an overview of industry practices and standards related to that transport. Read More.


  • The FAA has announced it will begin allowing colleges and universities to join the air traffic controller partnership program Enhanced Air Traffic-Collegiate Training Initiative in an effort to fill the significant air traffic controller workforce shortage by expediting training. Learn More.
  • The DOT has released a new proposed rule to increase regulations on how airlines handle wheelchairs by making damage and delays violations of the Air Carrier Access Act. This rule is intended to increase training for airline employees and help ensure safe and dignified travel for passengers who use wheelchairs. Read More.
  • The FAA has issued a Notice for Proposed Rulemaking to expand the agency’s Safety Management System Program to chartered air tour flights. Read More.


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