The U.S. Senate has released its transportation funding plan, including investments in the sorts of projects that promote transportation energy efficiency, reduced particulate pollution, and infrastructure resiliency to the effects of climate change. While a significant amount of funds are dedicated to revamping America’s highways, the plan indicates a need for focusing the nation’s energy on solving the problems created by high levels of transportation-caused emissions. The $287 billion covers five years and calls for a 27 percent increase in funding to repair and maintain the country’s roads and transit systems. The bill, while a bipartisan effort, leaves the source of its funding to be determined, though several ideas have been floated for how to cover the higher level of support for infrastructure.
On the safety side of the government’s transportation efforts, the FTA recently released a Dear Colleague letter reminding transportation agencies of the impending July 2020 deadline for development of a Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP). Agencies that fall under the Administration’s criteria now have less than one year to come into compliance with the FTA’s PTASP regulation, which implements a risk-based Safety Management System approach, long in use in the aviation industry. To that end, TRA is currently assisting four public transit agencies in developing PTASPs for their respective bus and rail agencies: West Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, Bay Area Rapid Transit Authority, and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.