South West Transit Association
Transit Details in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill
At the end of July, the Biden Administration and the group of bipartisan senators announced agreement on the details of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which had received assent from Republican leadership in the Senate. The bill was approved by the full Senate on Sunday, August 10th. The bill includes the Senate’s version of a 5-year surface transportation reauthorization language and funding levels.
Included in the bill is $39.2 billion in public transit funding, increasing investment through all current formula and discretionary programs. The bill’s summary overview (which can be viewed here) lists addressing the “nation’s transit system repair backlog…[and] expands transit systems, supports clean transit options, and increases accessibility for seniors and persons with disabilities.”
SWTA supports the bipartisan agreement, especially language allowing for sale of vehicles past useful life with sale proceeds returned to the local agency equal to the amount of the local share at the vehicle’s purchase. APTA has voiced its support for the bill overall, while noting additional investment would benefit the industry. CTAA provided analysis of the legistaiton and its impacts for small urban, rural, tribal & specialized transit providers. We will continue to share the details of the bill’s language as it proves to the House of Representatives.
Even with Senate passage, immediate adoption by the House is uncertain, with House Speaker Pelosi still requiring a reconciliation bill to support other priorities to be passed first. She may call the House back early from August recess to begin work on both bills. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio appears to be moving on from his frustration over the Senate bill to explore opportunities to overcome what he perceives are its shortfalls in the reconciliation bill.
Amid all this, other activity continues at the federal level. The federal Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations bill for Transportation and Housing & Urban Development (THUD) was passed by the House of Representatives on July 29th, delivering “$15.5 billion for public transit – a $2.5 billion or 20 percent increase from current levels,” according to APTA.
Meanwhile, FTA announced the award of a cooperative agreement totaling $5 million to the International Transportation Learning Center (ITLC) to support the first Transit Workforce Center (TWC). Based in Silver Spring, Maryland, ITLC will serve as FTA’s first-ever national technical assistance center to help transit agencies recruit, hire, train, and retain a diverse workforce needed now and in the future.
Also, FTA is holding listening sessions open to all in the transit industry on helping transit agencies across America renew ridership following COVID. Upcoming sessions are 2-3:30 p.m. (Eastern) on Friday, August 6 and Friday, August 13th, with a wrap-up Summit in the early fall. Full details on these Transit Is Open sessions are available here.
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