The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) applauds Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Delaware), Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee Chairman Shelley Moore-Capito (R-West Virginia) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) for their introduction of “America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act” (ATIA), a five-year (fiscal year 2021-25), $287 billion bipartisan surface transportation bill reauthorizing EPW’s portion of the FAST Act, which is set to expire in September 2020. Committee markup is scheduled for July 30.
“Apart from the waste and recycling industry and the U.S. Postal Service, one would be hard pressed to name another industry that travels every road in America at least once a week every week,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith in a statement. “Nearly 200,000 miles of major highways require repairs and more than 47,000 bridges are deemed ‘structurally deficient,’ all of which impacts our industry’s ability to deliver its services that are essential to maintaining the quality of American life efficiently and in a timely manner. Introduction of this legislation is an important first step in addressing our nation’s transportation infrastructure needs.”
The bill also will authorize new programs to incentivize key priorities including safety, resiliency and emission reductions. ATIA increases funding to the existing Highway Safety Improvement Program and supports state-led initiatives to lower driver and pedestrian fatalities.
“NWRA will advocate for safety provisions in the bill to support state ‘Move Over’ laws covering the waste and recycling industry,” said Jim Riley, NWRA vice president for federal affairs, in a statement. “Members of Congress are increasingly aware of the danger our industry’s roadside workers face every day from careless and distracted drivers. This is a prime opportunity for Congress to make a statement and do something significant to help protect these hardworking men and women.”
The House of Representatives has yet to unveil reauthorization legislation and is in recess until September 9. NWRA noted that the previous two transportation infrastructure laws (MAP 21 and the FAST Act) were initiated by the EPW Committee passing its portion of the bills first with other Senate and House committees following its lead.