It is infrastructure week! At least in the House of Representatives.
To be fair, it is actually Infrastructure Summer in Washington, DC, with different initiatives on infrastructure — a transportation reauthorization bill and the new bipartisan Infrastructure package agreement — all making headlines.
This week, the House of Representatives will be voting on a five-year $715 billion dollar transportation reauthorization bill called the INVEST in America Act. The bill includes significant increases in funding for bicycling and walking projects along with a new focus on Complete Streets and safety improvements.
Despite the INVEST Act being a strong bill, there are a few changes we are trying to affect this week. It’s our last chance to get changes in the House version of the bill, so we are working with several members of Congress to:
- Require the US DOT to create vehicle tests to ensure car hoods and bumpers are built to reduce injury to biking and walking victims of car crashes.
- Prioritize low-income communities when determining grants for bicycling and walking networks.
- Change how states and local governments set speed limits to improve safety.
- Allow states to collect and analyze data on police stops of people biking and walking to identify and end racial profiling under the Prohibiting Racial Profiling program.
The Senate bill will come up next in the process. Leadership in the Senate has a goal of bringing their version of the transportation reauthorization bill to the floor in mid to late July.
How is this different from the Bipartisan Infrastructure package?
You may have heard that last Thursday, President Biden and a bipartisan group of 21 Senators agreed to a big picture one-time investment (stimulus) in infrastructure. This is in addition to the reauthorization bill. Right now there are no details so we don’t know yet what this will mean for bicycling and walking, but we know what was in President Biden’s American Jobs plan, which is good for bicycling and walking. We’ll have to wait to see what comes out of those negotiations.