America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019 is the largest highway legislation in history, authorizing $287 billion to maintain, repair, and modernize infrastructure for roads and bridges across the country. It is a reauthorization of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s proposed bill would draw on the Highway Trust Fund and other sources over the next five years to increase federal aid by 27% from the current legislation, which expires in October 2020. The bill increases the flexibility of funding among states, prioritizes specific highway projects, improves road safety, and protects the environment.
Proposed Projects for Road and Bridge Infrastructure
John Barrasso, junior senator from Wyoming and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), introduced the bill by stating its primary objective: “America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act will grow the economy, make our roads safer, and enhance the quality of life for the American people.” One of the most significant projects in the proposal designates $125 million in funding to the Alabama Department of Transportation to build a six-lane bridge across the Mobile River channel on Interstate 10. The other primary project designates $125 million in funding to the state of Maryland to implement double-stack trains for the Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore.
The bill is also the first of its nature to focus on a sustainable future for transportation. The legislation includes the first climate title in a highway bill, which would invest $10 billion in policies and projects with the goal of reducing emissions and enhancing resilience after natural disasters. The bill also details efforts to invest in natural gas refueling stations and electric vehicle charging stations at popular highway rest stops across the nation.
Improving Road Transportation to Benefit the Transportation Logistics Industry
The senators proposing the bill promise it will “cut Washington red tape, so road construction can get done faster, better, cheaper, and smarter.” Leaders in the logistics industry hope this will translate to greater supply chain efficiencies, with fewer obstacles and quicker deadlines.
The bill also increases funding for the Technology and Innovation Deployment Program, including $100 million for new and innovative construction technologies that will accelerate and streamline project delivery. This additional funding will help the logistics industry improve the process for road construction projects, making them more efficient and cost-effective.
The American Trucking Association (ATA) reacted positively to the bill, believing these investments will transform transportation by updating America’s road infrastructure for the 21st century. NATSO, the National Association of Truck Stop Operators, also reacted to the bill, urging the EPW Committee to advance the proposal and expressing their support for sustainable transportation with eco-friendly refueling and recharging stations. Logistics leaders expect America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019 to drive the industry forward and grow the economy by modernizing trucking projects and highway construction while paving the way for a sustainable future.
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