After a busy spring and summer working on legislation to reauthorize surface transportation spending, Congress is staring down a September 30th expiration date for current funding. Congress must reauthorize transportation spending or pass a short-term extension in order to maintain funding for transportation. Where things currently stand:
- The House and Senate each passed their versions of transportation reauthorization. The House passed the INVEST Act in July and the Senate passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in August.
- The plan is for the House to vote on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act by September 27, 2021. However, there is a push to pass budget reconciliation before bringing the infrastructure bill to a vote in the House.
To that end:
- The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is marking up its portion of the budget reconciliation bill on September 14th, 2021. T&I has $60 billion to allocate.
- Leader Schumer has tasked Senate committees with coming up with their portions of reconciliation by September 15th, 2021. The Environment and Public Works committee has $67 billion to allocate, but its jurisdiction extends beyond only transportation.
As part of the budget reconciliation process, we are working in partnership with the League of American Bicyclists, Smart Surfaces Coalition, and American Forests to advocate for funding the Healthy Streets program, which was authorized, but not funded, in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The Healthy Streets Program works to reduce flooding, improve air quality, and mitigate the urban heat island effect within communities of color and low-income communities by providing grants to state and local governments, as well as nonprofits, to conduct equity analyses, plant trees, and deploy Smart Surfaces, such as reflective pavement, in urban heat islands and porous pavement in flood prone areas. The program requires engagement with and support by community leaders. Our interest in this program stems from a desire to strengthen the connection between climate and equity priorities and transportation spending and the recognition that if cities are too hot or flooded, it will be impossible for people to walk, bike, or get around the communities.