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Amendments to INVEST Act Improve Equity and Street Safety
On Thursday morning, the House of Representatives passed the INVEST in America Act, a key bill in the transportation reauthorization process that contains a massive $715 billion investment in surface transportation. The bill, known formally as H.R. 3684, was passed along party lines with a vote of 221-201. The League supported its passage because INVEST includes a significant expansion of funding for pedestrian and bicycle projects, and notably includes a national Complete Streets policy plus safety improvements. As the House version of the transportation reauthorization bill, the INVEST in America Act is widely regarded as essential legislation. Its next step in the reauthorization process will be a conference committee with the Senate version of a similar bill.
Passing a strong House version of the transportation reauthorization bill, like INVEST, is critical to setting up big wins for people who bike and walk in the final law. After the Senate passes its version of the transportation reauthorization bill, both that one and the INVEST Act will meet in a conference committee where lawmakers from both chambers will hash out a deal on what goes to the president’s desk. By including as much as we can in INVEST, we set up our priorities to survive the conference committee. The final bill is likely to be enacted by the September deadline — a deadline created by the expiration of the current transportation authorization law.
Ahead of the vote on final passage on INVEST, the House voted on 147 amendments, most of which were presented in en bloc packages. For weeks, the team at the League of American Bicyclists has been tracking proposed amendments to determine whether they support our mission of creating safer roads and more connected communities. Of the 13 amendments identified as top League priorities, 11 made it into the final bill. Notably, the League supported the introduction of amendments that align with our goals of improving transportation equity and keeping vulnerable road users safe.
Amendment Highlights – Transportation Equity
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) proposed a transportation equity focused amendment which passed in Democratic en bloc #1. The amendment, which revises section 1309(g) of the Active Connected Transportation grant program, would require the Secretary of Transportation to consider the degree to which a project serves economically disadvantaged communities when awarding grants. Economically disadvantaged communities include communities that are underserved, located in areas of persistent poverty, or impacted by environmental justice.
Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL) introduced an amendment that will require motor vehicle manufacturers to meet certain safety standards for hoods and bumpers. The amendment directs the Secretary of Transportation, through the Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), to establish new safety standards for car, truck, and bus hoods and bumpers. These standards will help reduce injuries and fatalities suffered by pedestrians and cyclists, especially children, older adults, and people with disabilities. On Wednesday, the League issued an action alert urging Members of Congress to support the García amendment to the INVEST in America act.
The pair of amendments introduced by Congressman Salud Carbajal (D-CA) are centered around collecting and examining data on racial profiling in traffic stops. Amendment 68 supports studying the impact of requiring that states receiving funding under the 1906 Prohibiting Racial Profiling program collect and maintain data on traffic stops of pedestrians and cyclists. Amendment 173 allows states to use this funding to collect and include data about the traffic stops of pedestrians, cyclists, or people using micro-mobility devices. These amendments will help prevent race or ethnicity based traffic stops and support a data-driven response to racial profiling in traffic enforcement.
Our analysis of the INVEST Act Amendments
|1||Langevin (RI), Titus (NV)||Requires the Department of Justice, in addition to the Secretary, to adopt the U.S. Access Board’s Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines as enforceable standards.||Submitted||Support||Yes|
|3||Espaillat (NY), Nadler (NY)||(REVISED) Allows local transportation agencies to be direct aid recipients of the Metropolitan Performance Program where appropriate.||Submitted||Support||Yes|
|28||Ocasio-Cortez (NY)||(REVISED) Revises SEC. 1309(g) of the Active Connected Transportation grant program to direct the Secretary of Transportation to consider the extent to which a project would serve low income residents of economically disadvantaged communities when making grants.||Submitted||Support||Yes|
|40||Porter (CA)||Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a study on the effects of idling school buses and cars in school zones on children’s health.||Submitted||Support||Yes|
|51||Garcia, Jesús (IL)||(REVISED) Requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue a rule for motor vehicle bumpers and hoods to be designed to reduce the impact on vulnerable road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, in the event of a collision with a motor vehicle.||Submitted||Top League Priority: Support||Yes|
|68||Carbajal (CA)||Amends Section 3003 to have the national center of excellence for fair and equitable traffic safety enforcement to also collect data on pedestrian and bicyclist stops.||Submitted||Top League Priority: Support||Yes|
|82||Barragán (CA)||Establishes the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program to provide grants to urban communities for the creation and renovation of urban parks.||Submitted||Support||Yes|
|86||Garcia, Jesús (IL)||(REVISED) Directs the Secretary of Transportation to make sure that the ongoing and future updates to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) treat all users equally, including pedestrians and cyclists. Further directs the Secretary to update its guidance on how often the MUTCD is updated and to consider requiring the MUTCD be updated every four years.||Submitted||Support||Yes|
|95||Torres, Norma (CA)||(REVISED) Requires Department of Transportation to use updated research on setting speed limits and requires the Department to conduct further research into speed limit setting best practices.||Submitted||Support||Yes|
|173||Carbajal (CA)||Allows states to use funds to collect and include data of people stopped bicycling and walking.||Submitted||Top League Priority: Support||Yes|
|176||Grijalva (AZ)||(REVISED) Authorizes funding for implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act and requires the Task Force to establish guidelines for efficient and effective environmental review, including through the hiring and training of additional personnel. Ensures the transfer language is permitted only as specified in future appropriation Acts.||Submitted||Support||Yes|
|181||Gomez (CA)||(REVISED) Establishes a program to award grants to entities that provide transportation connectors from critically underserved urban communities and rural communities to green spaces.||Submitted||Support||Yes|
The INVEST in America Act is a transformative piece of legislation that improves safety and access for people biking, walking, rolling, or taking public transit. The significant funding increases for bicycle and pedestrian projects, coupled with the equity and safety focused amendments supported by the League, ensure that the INVEST in America Act will help re-center our infrastructure around people, not cars.