Issue Brief: America Transportation Infrastructure Act


ASLA promotes legislation that advances active transportation while taking into account the safety of all users, use of natural infrastructure, and protection of the natural and built environments from the effects of climate change through resiliency.


Congress must routinely pass a surface transportation bill in order to authorize federal programs and set spending levels. The current law, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, expires on September 30, 2020.

Bill Summary

Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso (WY) and Ranking Member Tom Carper (DE) introduced S. 2302, America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA) on July 29, 2019. This is the first step in reauthorizing all federal surface transportation programs and their spending levels. This legislation would increase highway spending levels by 27 percent to $287 billion over five years. The rail portions will be added by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the transit portion by the Senate Committee on Banking, which have yet to take action. The House of Representatives has not yet begun work on their own transportation infrastructure legislation.

Legislative Areas of Interest:
Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP)
  • Transportation Alternatives (TA) language in this legislation is the similar to the ASLA endorsed S. Transportation Alternatives Enhancement Act. It would include a 40% increase in the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STBGP). In a win for smaller and economically disadvantaged communities, states would be granted more flexibility on required 20 percent matching requirements, and localities would be able to use up to 7 percent of TA funding for technical and staffing assistance.

Complete Streets
  • ATIA includes a section on Complete Streets with language encouraging the adoption of Complete Streets designs and plans. It would require 2.5 percent of state and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) planning funds be used for adopting Complete Streets standards or policies, or developing Complete Streets prioritization plans, active transportation plans, transit access plans, transit-oriented development plans, or regional intercity rail plans.

Natural Infrastructure and Resiliency
  • ATIA would codify, for the first time, federal definitions of the terms “natural infrastructure” and “resilience.” This is complemented by language included in this legislation promoting, encouraging, and/or requiring the use of natural infrastructure in projects, and such designs and construction would be required to be resilient.

Scenic Byways
  • Would create the Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-saving Transportation (PROTECT) grant program. PRTOECT would provide grants for resilience improvements through funds distributed to states and through competitive planning grants. The grants would be used to assess the vulnerabilities of transportation infrastructure to weather events, natural disaster, and climate change related conditions and plan resilience improvements and emergency response strategies based on these assessments. The use of natural infrastructure and the protection and restoration of aquatic ecosystems is heavily promoted and encouraged in this new program.

National Park Service (NPS) Infrastructure Funding
  • NPS has nearly $12 billion in deferred maintenance projects that are currently unfunded, and over half of those projects are transportation infrastructure related. Through the Federal Lands Transportation Program, ATIA would increase NPS funding to $310 million over five years. NPS would also receive funding through the Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects Program for extremely large repair projects such as the Grand Loop Road in Yellowstone. This program would be funded at a dedicated $50 million annually with an additional authorization for $300 million a year.

Highway Safety Improvement Program Increases
  • ATIA would create a new safety program authorizing $2.5 billion over five years for states and urban areas to create plans and benchmarks for reducing pedestrian and cyclist injuries and fatalities.

Climate Title and Carbon Reduction
  • ATIA includes the first ever climate title in a transportation authorization bill. This section would authorize $10 billion over five years for programs and policies that would reduce vehicle emissions, make roads and bridges more resilient, and support the installation of alternative fueling and electric vehicle charging stations.

Bridge Grant Program
  • ATIA would establish a new competitive bridge program that allocates $6 billion to address the backlog of bridges in poor condition nationwide.

Wildlife Crossings/Innovative Solution to Reduce Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions
  • ATIA would authorize $250 million over five years for a wildlife crossings pilot program that would fund the planning, design, construction, and monitoring of wildlife crossing projects aimed at reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions.

Recent Action

The Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) held a markup of S. 2302 and passed it out of committee unanimously on July 30, 2019.


Senators John Barrasso (WY), Tom Carper (DE), Shelly Moore Capito (WV), and Benjamin Cardin (MD).


Roxanne Blackwell, 
Esq., Hon. ASLA,
Director of Federal
Government Affairs

Elizabeth Hebron,
Director of State
Government Affairs