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November 16, 2021 1:15 PM, EST

ATA, Freight Stakeholders Tout Infrastructure Bill’s Enactment

President Joe Biden President Joe Biden says the nation's freight infrastructure will be modernized, including enhancements to withstand extreme-weather events. (Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg News)

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American Trucking Associations and groups representing nearly every corner of the freight transportation industry touted the Biden White House and congressional lawmakers for advancing a $1 trillion infrastructure bill over the finish line.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, described by its proponents as a transformative policy update for the country’s mobility grid, was signed into law by President Joe Biden on Nov. 15.

During a White House ceremony, the president focused on the highlights: “The bipartisan law will modernize our ports, our airports, our freight rail to make it easier for companies to get goods to market, reduce supply chain bottlenecks as we’re experiencing now, and lower cost for you and your family.”

Biden emphasized: “The law also builds on our resilience so that the next storm, superstorm, drought, wildfire, hurricane, can be dealt with.”

ATA was among the stakeholders at the signing ceremony. Federation President Chris Spear observed, “From farmers to truckers, the millions of hardworking people who make this country great won today. Those lawmakers who put their constituents before themselves have now cemented a lasting legacy that the American people will see, feel and use for many decades to come.”

Among provisions in the law specific to trucking is an apprenticeship program for drivers younger than 21 to eventually qualify to drive Class 8 trucks in interstate commerce.

“After countless hearings and meetings on Capitol Hill,” Spear said, “ATA members will finally see the fruits of their labor: A 38% increase in road and bridge funding, and an infusion of highly trained, younger talent into our workforce.”

Chris Spear

Spear

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, a group representing state-centric agencies, pointed to the law’s funding allocations for transportation corridors. Specifically, it dedicates more than $100 billion for surface transportation networks, $66 billion for freight and passenger rail operations, $65 billion for rural broadband and $46 billion for climate change programs.

“It provides historic funding increases for federal highway, transit, highway safety and rail programs, and directly addresses equity, climate change, system resiliency, bridge investment, and project delivery and environmental review processes,” AASHTO Executive Director Jim Tymon said. “State and local transportation agencies are eager to get to work on the multimodal projects that will provide real benefits to the people of every community across the country.”

Ian Jefferies

Jefferies

Association of American Railroads CEO Ian Jefferies noted: “Prioritizing investments and common-sense policy solutions were the result of thoughtful, bipartisan negotiations and the tireless work of many. As we collectively face today’s challenges and build tomorrow’s opportunities, this package will help pave the way for a more modern, safer and resilient infrastructure network.”

The American Road and Transportation Builders Association, a group for the highway construction sector, called on the industry to applaud the policymakers who voted to make the bill’s enactment possible. Sixty-nine senators and 228 members of the House backed the measure’s final passage.

“It was my great honor to represent the ARTBA membership and U.S. transportation construction industry at today’s historic White House signing ceremony,” Chairman Ward Nye said. “The bipartisan infrastructure law is a victory for all Americans. Let’s get to work delivering transportation project outcomes that will boost the economy and make our roadways and railways safer.”

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